Tuesday, 8 January 2013

More about Books


The calm before the storm. Britain's Scientologists catch a break

                                   The Guardian

Not long now until the official launch of The Church of Fear, John Sweeney's new book on the Church of Scientology. The event is eagerly awaited, especially by the L Ron Hubbard-ites themselves. For they have a particular view of the author, with whom the church had angry exchanges as he prepared a BBC documentary five years ago. "John Sweeney is genuinely evil," one church blogger said. Still, things could have been worse. They might have been fighting on two fronts; but publisher Transworld confirms it has dropped plans to publish another Scientology exposé that's kicking up quite a bit of dust in the US. Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Celebrity, and the Prison of Belief has been seized upon by the church's critics. At the same time, it has been denounced as "preposterous lies" and attracted a blizzard of legal threats from aggrieved Scientologists. It was published in the US by Knopf – part of Random House – but Transworld in the UK, also part of Random House, took a look and didn't fancy its chances. "The full manuscript didn't come in until the end of November, at which point we did a full risk assessment," MD Larry Finlay told the website Publishing Perspectives. "Our advice was that we wouldn't be able to defend it in the UK courts. The UK has much more stringent libel laws, which is why so many cases are taken up here. If we had wanted to go ahead with the book there was too much to change." Publishable in the US. Too risky by far for London. That's comforting isn't it?


Transworld cancels Lawrence Wright's Scientology title

                                          The Telegraph

Lawrence Wright's UK publishers have dropped his new book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief after taking legal advice.

 British publishers Transworld have cancelled their publication of a new book on Scientology, after taking legal advice. Lawrence Wright's highly anticipated book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, is based on his 2011 New Yorker article ‘The Apostate’, for which he interviewed the screenwriter and director Paul Haggis about his decision to resign from the organisation.

Wright is no stranger to investigating secretive organisations. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for his book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

Going Clear examines the Church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, the church’s finances and its relationships with celebrities such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta. It will be published by US publishers Knopf for American audiences on January 17th with a reported print run of 150,000 copies.

The decision not to publish in this country has prompted questions, particularly as Transworld had previously agreed to it. It seems likely that the threat of libel action in the UK may have contributed to the decision.

Graham Atkins, a partner at Atkins Thomson Solicitors in London who specialise in defamation cases, commented on the decision: “It is more difficult for individual claimants to successfully sue for defamation in the US and therefore it may be that the UK publishers are concerned about prominent Scientologists threatening or commencing libel proceedings in the UK.”


No comments:

Post a Comment