Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beah and Publisher Sticking to it

As noted on Saturday, The Australian newspaper is asking some very pointed questions about material facts in the A Long Way Gone memoir/autobiography written by Ishmael Beah. Reports today in Publishers Lunch and Publisher's Weekly have not shed anymore light on the issue. Beah has written to the editor of The Australian (but it hasn't been printed) and the author, publisher and agent all stand by the story.

This article takes the questions minutely forward from the earlier two articles noted in the post below and also contains a quote from the creative writing professor who helped Beah write the book:
Creative writing professor Dan Chaon, who helped Beah produce the book, told The
Australian: "If it turns out there are factual errors, I wouldn't necessarily be all that concerned about it."

In his book, Beah says his home town, the mine where his father worked and his mother's town were all attacked in January 1993. He and a group of friends were then waiting in Mattru Jong for news when a Catholic priest was ordered by the rebels to deliver a message telling people in the town to co-operate with the rebels. Many people fled immediately; two weeks later, the rebels attacked from a surprise inland route, leaving only one unanticipated escape route on a footpath through a nearby swamp.

That is exactly what happened in 1995, according to the adult witnesses, internal records at the mine and numerous published sources.

More than likely there is more to come of this and there is more news expected today from the publisher.

Post: A Thousand Little Pieces?

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