The Truth About Elizabeth Gilbert Canceling Her New Novel

Elizabeth Gilbert delayed the publishing date of her novel, The Snow Forest, a week after announcing it. Here’s why she canceled it to support the Ukraine.

Book Culture Book News Bookish Tweets

Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, just announced the release of her newest novel, The Snow Forest. About a week later, she announced the delayed publication of the novel. So how did this popular author’s newest novel go from being ready-to-publish to canceled so quickly? Well, it all has to do with the story’s setting, Russia, and its impact on Ukraine. Here’s what we know so far.

Initial Announcement of The Snow Forest


On June 6th, Good Morning America released a cover reveal for Elizabeth Gilbert’s new novel. Along with the cover reveal, they announced that the story was set in Siberia, following the real-life story of a family who lived there for years.

Backlash to Elizbeth Gilbert Online

Not long after, Elizabeth Gilbert began to receive hate for her book in response to her announcement. The Snow Forest received over 500 one-star reviews on Goodreads. Angry comments flooded her social media posts that promoted the book:


These tweets, and many others, center around one complaint. Gilbert’s novel is insensitive to Ukrainians. Not only does the book center on Siberians, but the release date is also in February. This is right around the time the Russians initially started the attack on Ukraine. And while publishing dates are always planned far in advance—likely far before Gilbert or her publisher knew of the war—it doesn’t change the impact this could have on Ukrainians.

Elizabeth Gilbert Posts Her Response

Six days after the initial announcement for The Snow Forest, Elizbeth Gilbert made her response:


Gilbert apologized for the harm her book did to her Ukrainian readers. Not only that, but she made the decision to pull the book entirely from the shelves. She believes it is no longer a story that should be told right now, given the current politics. Gilbert promises she has other projects she will focus on instead.

Further Debates about Elizabeth Gilbert

Despite the fact that Gilbert already announced the cancellation of her novel, not everyone is satisfied. Some believe Gilbert should’ve published the book despite the complaints:


People are worried about what this means for stories set in Russia at all. Can Russian culture still be enjoyed? Some articles have defended Gilbert’s novel quite vocally. They argue that while the novel is set in Russia, that doesn’t mean it reflects the values of the Russian government.

In Gilbert’s response, she claimed to hold off on publishing the novel until a better time. But many are worried that there may never be a time where Russian stories will be accepted. At a time where book bans are also being hotly debated, canceling a book for its themes is a controversial stance. It’s a difficult situation, but Gilbert made her choice to pull the book before the debate got any worse.

All that’s left is to wait and find out if The Snow Forest will receive a new publishing date. Until then, readers can look forward to different stories from Gilbert as the author pursues her other projects.

If you’re interested in reading some of Elizabeth Gilbert’s other works, check out this article that recommends her books as well as others!