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Interview With Nick Davis

Interview With Nick Davis

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Published by HomoCarnula

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Published by: HomoCarnula on Oct 01, 2011
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10/01/2011

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Assange-Biography "He will never be ableto pay back the
money“
 
Zeit uses my translation and doesn
t link the source. No comment)By: 
 A conversation with the publisher Nick Davis about the adventure of accomplishing a book project together with Julian Assange.
DIE ZEIT:
Mr. Davis, you signed the book contract with Julian Assange three days after hisrelease from prison. Why did he choose you?
Nick Davies:
His agent contacted various British publishers with the proposal of JulianAssange wanting to write a mixture between memoir and political manifesto. I think some of the major publishers were scared off by Assange
s reputation. We are an independentpublisher and known for taking risks.Nick Davies© Canongate
ZEIT:
It has been a risk for you?
Davies:
We had a long internal discussion about it
 – 
WikiLeaks was controversial from thestart on. It was obvious that the book would polarize.
ZEIT:
What was it that excited you journalistically about him?
Davies:
Assange is an icon but also a mystery. That
s what we are looking for for ourautobiographies.
ZEIT:
What was the contract about?
Davies:
Originally Julian should have written the book. But soon we decided to engage aghostwriter. He wrote the first version and delivered it on time in March. Then Julian said hehad some problems with the version. The text was in his eyes too personal. I considered this
 
as a strange critic since it is an autobiography. He talked for three months openly with theghostwriter about his childhood, his youth and WikiLeaks. This is what the book contains.
ZEIT:
How did you react?
Davies:
We encouraged Julian to withdraw for six weeks and to revise the book. At the end of that time he didn
t deliver anything. In the beginning of September we gave him another week 
 – 
but we asked him to write us a letter, an E-Mail or a fax with instructions of what we shouldedit for him and when he would like to publish the book. Again we got no answer from him.
ZEIT:
When did you decide to publish the book without his cooperation?
Davies:
Circa three weeks ago. We wrote a letter to Julian giving him twelve days to contactus, to correct the autobiography, to authorize it or to dissociate himself from it. He answeredthe same evening and threatened us with a court injunction. Which didn
t arrive till thedeadline.
ZEIT:
Assange published a statement at the evening of the release of the book. There hewrote that he wanted to re-negotiate the contract with you, but Canongate denied a meetingwith him.
Davies:
I think he means the time when we gave him this one-week deadline. His statement isin many points inaccurate but it
s difficult to understand what exactly he is talking about. Hewanted to call us or meet us. We didn
t meet with him, that
s right.
We gave him every opportunity to publishthe book
ZEIT:
Why didn
t you want to talk to him?
Davies:
In the nine months of our contract with him he didn
t write a single word. We toldhim: We need something written by you so we know you
re serious in this.
ZEIT:
Have you ever before published an unauthorized autobiography?
Davies:
Never.
I’m
also disappointed and sad that this had to happen. In beginning of JulyJulian said he wants to back out but he couldn
t pay back the advance because that moneywent to his lawyers. We gave him every opportunity to publish the book. And we knew hewouldn
t be able to pay back the money.
ZEIT:
The Guardian reports that Canongate made a contract about £600.000 and paid£250.000 in advance.
Davies:
I can
t answer to that.
ZEIT:
How important was it for you financially to publish this book?
Davies:
We are a company and we publish books. There was a financial imperative for us: topublish the book in order to limit our damages.

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