General News

Writers Plead with Oprah Winfrey to Support New Work

Apr 26, 2005 | 6:19am EDT

A high-profile group of writers has begged Oprah Winfrey to include new novels in the book club section of her television show.

Sales figures for new fiction plummeted when the influential host decided to shake up the program's popular item in 2002, ditching new work in order to focus on classics.

But distraught authors, affected by the controversial move, wrote an open letter to the star, saying, "The readers need you. And we, the writers, need` you.

"Book Club members stopped buying new fiction, and this changed the face of American publishing."

It went on to plead with Winfrey to "consider focusing, once again, on contemporary writers in your book club".

The appeal was signed by 158 writers including Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri and The Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan.

Winfrey's influence on the book-buying public has proved to be huge--an Oprah's Book Club logo on a book cover boosts sales immeasurably--but she is reluctant to return to plugging new work as it had become "harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share".

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