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Eat Pray Love Author Elizabeth Gilbert Pulls New Book Over Russia War – The Hollywood Reporter


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Author and journalist Elizabeth Gilbert said Monday she is pulling her next book from the release calendar after facing backlash over its setting in Russia.

Gilbert — the author of the 2006 best-selling memoir Eat, Pray, Love (which was adapted into a popular 2010 film of the same name) — says that the novel The Snow Forest, which was set to be released in February 2024, will not be published as planned after she received criticism from Ukrainians angry about the setting.

“Over the course of this weekend, I have received an enormous, massive outpouring of reactions and responses from my Ukrainian readers, expressing anger, sorrow, disappointment and pain, about the fact that I would choose to release a book into the world right now,” Gilbert said in a video posted to her social media accounts Monday. “I want to say that I have heard these messages and read these messages, and I respect them. As a result, I’m making a course correction, and I’m removing the book from its publication schedule. It is not the time for this book to be published. And I do not want to add any harm to a group of people who have already experienced and who are all continuing to experience grievous and extreme harm.”

Gilbert said that The Snow Forest “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 industrialization,” however she added that “no matter what the subject of it is,” the setting in Russia made it untenable for the time being.

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A former magazine journalist (a 1997 GQ article was adapted into the 2000 feature film Coyote Ugly), Gilbert first found mainstream success in book publishing with Eat, Pray, Love. Her subsequent books have included 2010s Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, and 2015s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

Gilbert said Monday she will focus her efforts on other projects for now, putting The Snow Forest on the back burner.

“I’ve got other book projects that I’m working on, and I made a decision to turn my attention to working on those now,” she said.

Gilbert’s latest book comes as books have become a political lightning rod in the U.S. and around the world. Many school districts and local municipalities in the U.S. are enacting strict book bans to try and remove titles deemed controversial or politically unwelcome.

At the same time, there has also been backlash to older books being removed from shelves (in the case of Dr. Seuss) or posthumously edited (in the case of Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming) to change language or sequences that don’t gel with modern sensibilities.

Of course, Gilbert is making her own choice not to publish The Snow Forest in response to a high-profile current event, leaving open the possibility that it could be released at some point in the future.

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