Assange memoir to give full details of WikiLeaks

NEW YORK (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s new memoir will give a full account of his life and the secretive group that has leaked large amounts of documents, US publisher Alfred A. Knopf said yesterday.

Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards said Assange and the publishing house reached a deal for his autobiography “just before the holiday” and that a manuscript was expected to be delivered in 2011.

Assange told The Sunday Times newspaper in Britain that he agreed to book deals due to financial pressures from legal issues.

The deals would bring in $800,000 from Knopf and another 325,000 pounds ($500,000) from British publisher Canongate, both part of the Random House stable owned by Bertelsmann AG.

“I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” Assange told the Times, citing a growing legal bill that has reached more than 200,000 pounds ($308,000). “I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat. Bogaards said the book is still untitled.

“In terms of the subject matter, it will be a complete account of his life through the present including the founding of WikiLeaks and the work he has done there,” said Bogaards. “We do not have a timetable for publishing the memoir as yet.”

Assange, 39, is an Australian computer expert who has angered the United States by releasing secret diplomatic cables on his website and teaming up with newspapers around the globe to amplify the impact of the disclosures.

He is now on bail and living in the English countryside under house arrest as he prepares to fight extradition to Sweden, where authorities want to question him over alleged sexual offenses.

Assange’s memoir would come hard on the heels of a volume from his former second-in-command Daniel Domscheit-Berg, whose Inside WikiLeaks: My Time at the World’s Most Dangerous Website is set to tell the story of the site. The book is due out from German publisher Econ Verlag in January.

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