Thursday 22 September 2011

Indy publishes first Assange biography extracts

The Independent today publishes the first extracts from the disputed unauthorised autobigraphy of WiliLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange tells of his early days as a hacker and the events in Sweden that left him facing rape charges.

In a news story the Independent reveals why the autobiography is "unauthorised" and does not carry the name of the ghost writer.

It says that in late December Assange accepted a six-figure – advance from Canongate, the Scottish publishing firm to write a "part memoir, part manifesto". Canongate went on to sell the rights to a further 38 publishing houses around the world. The Scottish novelist Andrew O'Hagan was brought in as a ghost writer and spent more than 50 hours with Assange.

But the Independent reports: "The relationship soured soon after the first draft of the manuscript was delivered to him in late March, prompting him to pull the plug on the deal, declaring that "all memoir is prostitution". For the publishers his complaints came out of the blue. Only a week earlier he had posed for a photo shoot and cleared the portrait that now graces the book's front cover."

Sources have told the Independent that the WikiLeaks founder was increasingly uncomfortable about how the book contained too many personal biographical details and read less like a political manifesto than he had hoped for.

The Independent says: "The publisher's lawyers believe they still have the right to release the memoir because a reported £400,000 advance that was paid to Mr Assange has not been returned. It is believed the money was placed into escrow, which means that Mr Assange's lawyers have first claim on it once their legal bills are due.

"Canongate decided to press ahead with publication but gave Mr Assange a 12-day window to seek an injunction. That deadline expired on Monday and they have since enacted a huge security operation to secretly ship books out to thousands of stores nationwide without tipping anyone off as to the content of the book."

The Independent says Assange will continue to receive royalties from global sales, meaning he is in line for a significant input of cash once the book hits the shelves around the world.

  • The Independent is splashing today on a story that alleges up to a dozen News International executives, including Rebekah Brooks, were told in 2006 that the Metropolitan Police had evidence that more than one News of the World journalist was implicated in the phone-hacking scandal.

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