x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Speculation in overdrive for Julian Assange memoir

When the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange announced he would be writing his autobiography to pay his legal costs in a Swedish sex case, the web went wild discussing the possible contents.

Julian Assange. Carl Court / AFP Photo
Julian Assange. Carl Court / AFP Photo

When last week the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange announced he was to write his autobiography in a bid to fund the costs of his defence against allegations of sexual assault made by two women in Sweden, speculation about the possible contents went into overdrive.

Of more immediate interest, though, was his statement that he had signed book deals worth more than US$1.5million (Dh5.5m) for an account of his life.

"I don't want to write this book, but I have to," he told The Sunday Times. "I have already spent £200,000 for legal costs and I need to defend myself and keep WikiLeaks afloat."

Assange said he would receive $800,000 from Alfred A Knopf, his American publisher, while a deal with his British publisher, Canongate, is said to be worth $500,000.

While this may help keep Assange afloat, it isn't a particularly generous deal when compared with other recent hotly anticipated autobiographies from political figures. Tony Blair received US$7,000,000 for A Journey, which was published by Random House last summer. Blair said he would donate his advance plus all royalties to the soldiers' charity, the Royal British Legion. Seven million dollars was also the rumoured pay-off for George W Bush's tome Decision Points, which had, by last week, sold over two million copies since its release in late November.

Both Blair and Bush were beaten though, by 2009's hot memoir, Sarah Palin's Going Rogue, which reportedly brought her a deal worth anywhere between $7m and $11m. Still, Assange can comfort himself with the thought that the film rights for Wikileaks: The Movie must be worth a fortune.