The Bookseller reports that Little, Brown UK has decided to pull publicity for a new fiction title about the abduction of a young girl, in the wake of Madeleine McCann‘s disappearance in Portugal more than three weeks ago. Canadian author Barbara Gowdy‘s planned visit to the UK to promote her new book HELPLESS (which has been out in the US since late March but doesn’t drop till June 7th in the UK) has been canceled, and Little, Brown is also reworking its advertising campaign for the title, which centers around the abduction of a nine-year-old girl.
Little, Brown publicity director Susan de Soissons said the decision was made “out of respect” but stressed the book handled the issue of child abduction “intelligently and sensibly. It wouldn’t be proper to put an author into a position where she would have to discuss a real-life case,” she said, adding that Little, Brown hoped Gowdy would visit the UK next summer for the paperback. If this gambit seems reminiscent of what happened to Chris Cleave a couple of years ago when his debut novel INCENDIARY was released at the same time as the 7/7 London bombings, you’d be correct. What’s surprising to me is that it’s Gowdy’s novel affected and not another Little, Brown title centering around a similar topic in a more overt fashion: Mark Giminez‘s THE ABDUCTION. But in that case, the book’s been out since March and perhaps has had its day in the promotional sun…
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