April 17, 2001
I am sure many of you are aware of the legal battle being fought over Houghton Mifflins plans to publish a first novel called The Wind Done Gone, by Alice Randall. In all my years of publishing, I have never been faced with an attempt to block publication of any book, let alone a work with such an important and biting message.
Houghton Mifflins right to publish Randalls parody is something I believe in with passionate conviction. No legal fight is fun. In the midst of the fray, however, what has been the most gratifying to me is the response of so many writers to the quality of Randalls work itselfa factor that could get lost in the shuffle.
There was Pat Conroy, calling from a ship docked in Turkey to express his admiration for the novel. In an affidavit he sent to the court, he wrote, "I read it with pleasure and laughed out loud at its clever inversions and insider jokes on the themes of GWTW."
Nobel laureate Toni Morrison described Randalls prose as being "by turns evocative, wry, plangent." James Carroll weighed in with a Boston Globe op-ed piece that said Randalls book brings "vividly to life the people who move on the margins of Gone With the Wind. . . . a rebuttal" to "the most damning lie America has ever told itself." And Henry Louis Gates Jr. has said, "The Wind Done Gone is a classic parody, in a long line of literary creations that extend back to the ancient Greeks."
High praise from great fellow writers; and these are only a few of the many examples of people who have taken the time to actually read the novel and recognize its merits, its humanity, and its humor. The Wind Done Gone itself, indeed, is the best refutation of the Mitchell Trusts accusations.
On this Web site, you will find various materials about the legal disputes concerning The Wind Done Gone that I hope will be informative as this important debate moves forward.