Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography

“All the people involved in the production of Julian Assange, The Unauthorised Autobiography, especially those who have the heard the tapes or read the transcripts of the interviews conducted by the co-writer with Julian Assange, know that this book is not merely a gracious representation of Julian’s story of his own life but one that does its best to offer a compelling and insightful portrait of the man.

And the facts are these: 

Julian Assange signed a contract to publish his autobiography on December 2010 and was paid via his agent an advance by both Canongate and his American publishers, Alfred A. Knopf. On 7th June 2011, he told us he wished to cancel his contract.

We last talked to Julian on 16th June.    During that conversation, we restated that we wished to work with Julian on the book and would be flexible about its format and publication date.

Over two months later, on 24th August, Julian’s agent asked for another meeting.   Our response was to ask for something in writing.  We were absolutely explicit about the need to see a proposal in writing from Julian if we were going to believe that he was really ready to reengage with the book.     We had already waited almost five months for any written response to the first draft delivered at the end of March.

We received nothing.

We wrote to Julian again on 7th September, via his agent, informing him that we intended to publish his autobiography, based on the first draft delivered to us on 31 March 2011.  In that letter, we told Julian we planned to send the book to press on 19 September.   His response, twelve days after we sent the letter, was to say that he intended to injunct.   He didn’t.

Canongate paid Julian’s agent – not WikiLeaks - a substantial signature advance in December for the book, money that he instructed his agent to hand over to his lawyers.    Julian has said on Twitter that ‘JA has not, and will likely never receive a cent from this stolen text’.     He has – it’s a six figure sum. And we will honour any further royalty payments that become due.

The fact that Julian, for whatever reason, now wishes to retract and deny those stories that he supplied to his co-writer is sad and regrettable.  We published the story he told. And we gave him ample opportunity (over 5 months) to retell it.  He chose not to. 

We have said all along that we are proud to publish this book.   And we believe it is, as one reviewer has already said, ‘An extraordinary story’.”

Copyright © 2014 Canongate Books
All rights reserved