HomeArts & EntertainmentBooksEat Pray Love author pulls new book from publication after backlash to...

Eat Pray Love author pulls new book from publication after backlash to setting

Elizabeth Gilbert has announced that she is cancelling the planned publication of her new book, amid complaints over its use of a Siberian setting.

Titled The Snow Forest, the novel had been announced by Bloomsbury last week, with a publication date scheduled for February 2024.

Gilbert, the 53-year-old writer best known for her 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love, shared a video on social media addressing concerns over The Snow Forest’s subject matter in light of Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

“Last week I announced the upcoming publication of my most recent novel, which was set in the middle of Siberia in the middle of the last century, and told the story of a group of individuals who made a decision to remove themselves from society to resist the Soviet government, and to try to defend nature against industrialisation,” she said.

Gilbert went on to say that over the “course of the weekend”, she had received an “enormous, massive outpouring of reactions and responses” from Ukrainian fans of hers, expressing “anger, sorrow, disappointment and pain”.

She explained that the backlash concerned “the fact that I would choose to release a book into the world right now – any book, no matter what the subject of it is – that is set in Russia”.

“I want to say that I have heard these messages, and read these messages, and I respect them. As a result, I am making a course correction, and I am removing this book from its publication schedule,” she continued. “It is not the time for this book to be published.

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author Elizabeth Gilbert

(Elizabeth Gilbert via Twitter)

“I don’t want to add any harm to a group of people who have already experienced, and who are continuing to experience, grievous and extreme harm. So that is the choice I have made.”

According to Gilbert, she is set to turn her attention to other ongoing book projects. Those fans who had been charged after pre-ordering the novel will receive refunds.

Her announcement prompted a mixed reaction among followers, with some suggesting that pulling the novel from publication was unwarranted. Others, however, praised her for the decision, including many Ukranian commenters.

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