The Guardian newspaper has denied claims it intentionally published Chimamanda Adichie's work without her permission in a bid to cash in on the acclaimed writer's fame.
Fans of the 37-year-old Nigerian author were left confused when Mornings Are Dark, I Cry Often - an essay about her personal struggles with depression - surfaced online only to be swiftly deleted.
Despite the paper releasing a correction explaining the empowering piece had been published in error, Adichie's management have since accused the publication of illegal and unethical conduct.
Her representative's state Adichie unequivocally did not sign off the essay or receive any payment before it was published on the Guardian's website.
"The Guardian claims it was a technical error. It is not clear how something could have been published, with photographs, due to a technical error. It is possible that The Guardian deliberately published it even though they had been turned down," the statement reads.
"That way, The Guardian could claim to have been first to publish Africa's most-internationally recognized novelist writing for the first time on the very personal subject of depression. The Guardian's action was unethical and possibly illegal. The Guardian has apologized and removed the essay."
Adichie went on to assure fans her bold and courageous account will be republished via her chosen channels late in the year.
The statement added: "Chimamanda thanks all the people who have already shared their own stories of depression. She hopes that knowing you are not alone will be a source of comfort. She will speak more on the subject in the coming months."
A Guardian spokesperson told IBTimes UK: "The essay was submitted by Adichie's agents to the Guardian in early September 2014. After it had been accepted and a fee agreed, a layout was drawn up for the piece - including headlines and pictures - and it was timed to publish automatically on a set date.
"After Adichie subsequently decided not to publish the article in the Guardian, we regrettably failed to delete one of the prepared drafts of the article. As a result, it was automatically published on Sunday 1st February. We strongly rebut any suggestion that the Guardian would deliberately publish an article without the author's permission.
"Following conversations with Adichie's agent, we immediately took down the article and offered our unreserved apologies to the author."
Adichie, an award-winning speaker and author, has written a collection of poems and books including Half Of A Yellow Sun, which was adapted for the big screen in 2014.
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