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Woman Sues Over Character, Cover in Pulitzer-Winning Novel

February 18, 1991

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ A model-turned-teacher’s aide is suing the author and publishers of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel over ″an offensive″ character and the book cover.

Vann E. Goodwin alleges that ″The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love″ by Oscar Hijuelos invades her privacy by unlawfully depicting her life story and using her likeness on the cover.

The novel won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The suit filed in Sacramento Superior Court claims that the character, Vanna Vane, is a disguised Vann Vore, Goodwin’s name in the early 1950s when she worked for a New York City modeling agency.

She says in the suit the characterization places her ″in a highly offensive false light before the public.″

According to the suit, her husband used her picture on a record album cover, entitled ″Mambo Jambore,″ shortly before he committed suicide. The suit alleges that the album cover ended up on the cover of the novel.

Goodwin ″abandoned her modeling career and left New York to escape the trauma of her husband’s suicide,″ the suit says.

Besides Hijuelos, she is suing two New York publishing firms, Farrar Straus and Giroux, which published the hard cover version of the book, and Harper and Row, now known as Harper Collins, which bought the paperback rights.

Both companies declined comment on the suit.

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