Oprah Cancels Dinner With Author

Oprah Winfrey will not be breaking bread with Jonathan Franzen, the author of her latest book club pick, The Corrections. The talk show host usually airs a segment in which she dines with the writer and selected viewers. 

``Jonathan Franzen will not be on the Oprah Winfrey show because he is seemingly uncomfortable and conflicted about being chosen as a book club selection,'' Winfrey said in a recent statement.

``It is never my intention to make anyone uncomfortable or cause anyone conflict. We have decided to skip the dinner and we're moving on to the next book.''

Winfrey's choice was announced Sept. 24 and Franzen had been expected to appear on her show some time over the next few weeks. His novel, a National Book Award nominee, tells the story of an alienated Midwest family.

A spokeswoman said Winfrey was aware of comments made by Franzen in a variety of interviews. In remarks that appeared in the Oct. 12 edition of The Oregonian, a Portland-based newspaper, the author said he had considered turning down the pick, which virtually guarantees hundreds of thousands of sales.

He was concerned about having the Oprah logo on the cover.

``I know it says Oprah's Book Club, but it's an implied endorsement, both for me and for her. The reason I got into this business is because I'm an independent writer, and I didn't want that corporate logo on my book,'' Franzen said.

The Corrections was a best seller before the Oprah selection and more than 500,000 copies now are in print.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Franzen's publisher, agreed to release some copies of the book with the Oprah label and some without.

In a statement issued Tuesday through his publisher, Franzen said he was ``delighted'' by the Winfrey pick and said he was ``sorry to learn there won't be a dinner for this particular selection.''

``I was never conflicted by any of this, although the printed logo on the dust jacket did make me uncomfortable. I'm a writer, not a spokesperson. ... I'm sorry if, because of my inexperience, I expressed myself poorly or unwisely,'' Franzen said.