BY The Western JournalMay 29, 2022
2 years ago

Author Who Plagiarized Novel Issues Apology Essay, But It Turns Out She Stole That, Too

After an author had her debut book, “The Leaving,” pulled from the shelves due to plagiarism, she submitted an essay on May 9 titled “I Plagiarized Parts of My Debut Novel. Here’s Why” to the publishing website Literary Hub.

However, editors at Literary Hub quickly found out that Jumi Bello’s essay had the same fatal mistake as her debut novel, according to The Guardian.

The infamous author had once again plagiarized.

The essay aimed to discuss Bello’s experience with her mental illness and her debut novel, as well as her acts of plagiarism, according to The Guardian.

In her essay, Bello discussed how she wanted to incorporate a black pregnant woman into her novel.

Having never experienced pregnancy, Bello sought out “literary descriptions” from other written material.

“I tell myself I’m just borrowing and changing the language. I tell myself I will rewrite these parts later during the editorial phase. I will make this story mine again,” she wrote.

As soon as the essay was published on the website, writers and publications, such as Gawker, saw striking similarities between Bello’s description of plagiarism and "other articles on the history of plagiarism."

According to Gawker, Bello stated in her essay: "Plagiarism has been with us since the birth of language and art. For as long as there have been words to be read, there has been someone there copying the passages. It goes as far back as 8 AD with the poet Martial who caught another poet Fidentinus reciting his work. He called Fidentinus a plagiarus, meaning a 'kidnapper.'"

This elucidates a striking similarity to Plagiarism Today's 2011 article titled "The World's First 'Plagiarism' Case" written by Jonathan Bailey, according to Gawker.

"Plagiarism, the act of taking another’s work and passing it off as your own, has almost certainly been with us since the dawn of artwork and written language. For as long as there has been art and artists, there have been people who have put their name to it incorrectly."

"But while the act of plagiarism is as old as time, the word 'plagiarism' is not. The etymology of the word plagiarism is an interesting one and its history actually dates back to the first century AD and involves a Roman poet and his literary 'kidnappers' who became the subject of a literary beating."

Bailey, a founder of the website Plagiarism Today, wrote on May 9 that Bello did not include adequate paraphrasing of an article that he had written over a decade ago.

“The way you avoid plagiarism isn’t to ‘change the language’ but to never have that language in your original work in the first place,” he wrote.

“I am still confused trying to figure out how to approach this both intellectually and emotionally,'' Bailey continued. “It’s a moment that even 16 years of work in this field did not prepare me for.”

The text also resembles texts from a 2019 blog titled "5 Historical Moments That Shaped Plagiarism" found on the plagiarism detection site Turnitin, according to Gawker.

"Plagiarism has almost certainly been with us since the dawn of language and art. For as long as there have been words to repeat and art to copy, it stands to reason someone was doing so," the text began.

"In one of those verses, Martial referred to Fidentinus as a 'plagiarus,' essentially calling him a kidnapper," the blog stated in a later passage.

Once the editors of Literary Hub got word of the plagiarism, they decided to eradicate the essay from their site, according to The Guardian.

“Because of inconsistencies in the story and, crucially, a further incident of plagiarism in the published piece, we decided to pull the essay,” the publication announced.

By mid-morning Monday, the article had been taken down and now loads an error page, according to Gawker.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: The Western Journal

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