Posted on January 29, 2020 at 8:09 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

The backlash against American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins has only intensified.

A group of eighty-two authors have penned an open letter to Oprah Winfrey (shared on Literary Hub) asking the media icon to remove American Dirt from her book club.

They stress that the issue is not simply that that the author wrote about a demographic group to which she doesn’t belong, but that she (in their opinion) did not research the experiences of Mexican migrants well enough, that it’s an example of “trauma fetishization,” and that it leans too heavily on other writers’ work.

Additionally, they argue, publishers chose to release and promote Cummins rather than any number of Latinx authors who have written more accurately and empathetically on the same subject.

Among the signers:

Urrea, in fact, is among the authors mentioned in a Huffington Post piece questioning Cummins’s originality.

HuffPo’s David J. Schmidt points to several scenes in American Dirt that strongly resemble passages from Urrea’s work, in addition to identifying multiple times she inaccurately describes Mexico and the way its residents speak.

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