Canongate made the shock announcement yesterday (21st September) that it was publishing Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography, despite the author's attempts to have his contract cancelled. Bookshops across the country have begun selling the book today with the likes of Amazon and Waterstone's listing it as in stock.
In a statement released overnight, Assange accused Canongate of acting "in breach of contract, in breach of confidence, in breach of my creative rights and in breach of personal assurances". He said: "The events surrounding its unauthorised publication by Canongate are not about freedom of information—they are about old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity—screwing people over to make a buck."
According to Assange, the book is a "narrative and literary interpretation" of a conversation between him and ghostwriter Andrew O'Hagan. Assange, who achieved public notoriety by becoming the public face of the organisation that leaked diplomatic leaks, said: "The entire book was to be heavily modified, extended and revised, in particular, to take into account the privacy of the individuals mentioned in the book."
Assange claims that in a meeting which took place on 20th May, Canongate publisher Jamie Byng assured him the book would not be published without Assange's consent. Instead, Assange was to write a new version of the book, with an aim to publish it in spring 2012. However, he then claims Byng refused to take any of Assange's calls. The next contact was in early September, when he was informed of the book's publication.
More at The Bookseller.