WikiLeaks founder hesitates over memoirs

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is apparently no longer willing to pen a comprehensive book about his life.

According to the UK-based Guardian, the lucrative book deal with publishers Canongate and Knopf unceremoniously collapsed after Assange became “unhappy” with the process. 

However, Assange may have also told publishers that the book – in the process of being ghostwritten by novelist Andrew O’Hagan – could potentially provide “ammunition” to U.S. prosecutors intent on seeking his extradition. 

It should be noted that the WikiLeaks founder originally hoped the memoirs “would become one of the unifying documents of [this] generation,” while generating enough cash to fund his legal fight against extradition to Sweden or the United States.

“I have spent £200,000 for legal costs and I need to defend myself,” Assange stated shortly after signing the deal.

Unsurprisingly, a spokesperson for Canongate said the publisher would refrain from discussing the book “until it is ready to.”

However, the spokesperson emphasized the contract with Assange is “still very much alive, with over 35 publishers around the world committed to publishing this book.”

Nevertheless, as Esther Addley of the Guardian points out, it remains unclear if Canongate will attempt to persuade Assange to change his mind or pursue the project in a different form. 

Also uncertain is whether the material gathered in the course of researching the book will fall under the publisher’s copyright – which could potentially allow it to move forward without his direct involvement.