Chinese author Amelie Wen Zhao has postponed the launch of her upcoming novel “Blood Heir” due to allegations of “anti-black” racism.
Zhao was born in Paris, raised in Beijing and attended college in New York.
“Blood Heir” is set in the fictional Cyrilian Empire with themes including human slavery and depicts a world in which “oppression is blind to skin color.”
The book was set to be released in June, but Zhao posted on Twitter that the launch date would be postponed, according to South China Morning Post
The announcement came after several people accused the author of plagiarism and “anti-black” racism.
“In a world where the princess is the monster, oppression is blind to skin color, and good and evil exist in shades of gray…comes a dark Anastasia retelling that explores love, loss, fear, and divisiveness and how ultimately it is our choices that define who we are,” the novel’s description reads.
“Explain to me how you write a book pretty much about slavery and oppressions suffered by the Black community, such as a system that uses not only slaves but people ‘arrested’ by the authoritative system in place to be used as relatively free labor, but ‘oppression is blind to skin color,’”
McKinney continued in one of her posts
In addition to the postponement, Zhao penned a lengthy apology letter. She wrote:
“I emigrated from China when I was 18. Drawing on my own multicultural upbringing and the complex history of my heritage that has incidences of bias and oppression. I wrote ‘Blood Heir’ from the immediate cultural perspective. The issue around Affinite indenturement in the story represent a specific critique of the epidemic of indentured labor and human trafficking prevalent in many industries across Asia, including in my own home country. The narrative and history of slavery in the United States is not something I can, would, or intended to write, but I recognize that I am not writing in merely my own cultural context. I am sorry for the pain this has caused.”
It remains unclear what the future holds for Zhao’s “Blood Heir,” but Zhao’s relationship with her publication remains to be in good status.
Random House Children’s Books, wrote a statement to The New York Times:
“We respect Amelie’s decision, and look forward to continuing our publishing relationship with her.”