Oprah Winfrey will premiere her interview with “American Dirt” author Jeanine Cummins as a two-part episode on her Apple Plus starting Friday, despite the recent controversy in which critics have claimed the novel to be a misrepresentation of the immigrant experience.
“If you read the book there is no doubt you heard about the controversy around it,” said Winfrey. “I heard and understand the concerns and wanted to bring together many voices to lean into this conversation because for 25 years on ‘The Oprah Show’ I learned that is the only way I think we can actually gain a better understanding of one another.”
In Part 1 of the interview, Winfrey and Cummins will be joined by authors Reyna Grande, Julissa Arce and Esther Cepeda, who have criticized the book, along with other members of the Latinx community for an in-depth discussion of “American Dirt” and real-life immigrant experiences. In the second part of the interview, Winfrey speaks with Latinx people who said they did see themselves reflected in Cummins’ novel and share their insights on the immigrant experience.
“American Dirt,” touted as a modern version of “The Grapes of Wrath,” follows the story of a Mexican woman and her son fleeing to the United States to escape drug cartel violence. The book received major backlash from critics and the Latinx community after its release on Jan. 21 as critics accused Cummins of not accurately capturing the immigrant experience and lambasted the sometimes tone-deaf marketing. The negative response eventually led its publisher, Flatiron Books, to cancel the book tour after receiving threats towards booksellers and Cummins.
The two-part episode will premiere exclusively on Apple TV Plus.