»

| Give a Gift |

  • Digital Edition

Neither Side Backing Down in Ishmael Beah Memoir Dispute

Daily News

Online Only, posted 1.24.08

Five days after a newspaper in Australia published a report challenging the accuracy of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (Sara Crichton Books, 2007) by Ishmael Beah, neither side is backing down; both the author and his publisher have issued statements defending the book while the Australian stands by its claims.

On Tuesday, Beah issued a statement denying accusations that he misrepresented his experiences as a child who was forced to fight in the Sierra Leone army. "I was right about my family. I am right about my story," he wrote. "This is not something one gets wrong. The Australian’s reporters have been calling my college professors, asking if I 'embellished' my story. They published my adoptive mother’s address, so she now receives ugly threats. They have used innuendo against me when there is no fact. Though apparently, they believe anything they are told—unless it comes from me or supports my account. Sad to say, my story is all true." (For the full statement, visit the author's Web site.)

The Australian issued a response to Beah's defense yesterday, saying that the author's statement contains further factual errors. Among them is Beah's assertion that the newspaper published his mother's address. "The Australian did not and would not publish the address of his adoptive mother, Laura Simms. Instead it named her Web site...through which she promotes her work as a storyteller." (For the full statement, visit the Australian's Web site.)

Publishers Weekly reported yesterday afternoon that Farrar, Straus and Giroux, the publisher whose imprint released the memoir, issued the following statement, which will appear on Beah's Web site:

Peter Wilson of the Australian has asked us to point out that the Australian did not publish Ishmael Beah’s adoptive mother’s “address,” but her Internet address. Also, although Mr. Barry is referred to in the 1/19 Australian article as the “principal” of the secondary school Beah and his older brother had attended, Wilson later states in that article that Mr. Barry was only promoted to principal in 2002, and in subsequent articles Mr. Barry is referred to as both “boarding master” and “teacher,” but not as “head” of the school at the time Beah attended. Wilson also included a quote from an interview with Leslie Mboka in his 1/21 article in the Australian: “Leslie Mboka, the first social worker to meet Beah in a rehabilitation camp for former child soldiers in early 1996, said the book accurately recounted Mr. Mboka’s experiences with Beah in Freetown but ‘he was a young child who had been through terrible things so he could easily have got things mixed up.’”

City Guide

by Jen Michalski

Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

Upcoming Events
Creative Nonfiction
Reading
San Diego City College Ninth Annual International Book Fair
October 20, 2014 - 11:10am
Poetry
Reading
City Lights Booksellers and Publishers
October 20, 2014 - 7:00pm
Creative Nonfiction
Reading
City Lights Bookstore
October 20, 2014 - 7:00pm
Poetry
Reading
University of Chicago - Logan Center, Seminar Terrace 801
October 21, 2014 - 6:00pm
Poetry
Reading/Panel
The New School's Orozco Room
October 21, 2014 - 6:30pm
Conferences & Residencies
Residency
Riga, Latvia
Conference
Charlotte, North Carolina
Residency
Banner, Wyoming
Writing Contests
University of Evansville
American Library Association
Magazine Articles

by Mira Ptacin

November/December 2014

Despite struggles, libraries are learning to navigate the ever-changing, and often cost-prohibitive, landscape of digital lending.

 

by Staff

Politics & Prose replaces Barnes & Noble as official National Book Festival bookseller; new Berryman volume and reissues released; Carlos Lozada named nonfiction book critic at the Washington Post; and other news.

Directory of Writers
Poet
Glendale, CA
Poet
Alexandria, LA
Poet
New York, NY

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | Help | About Us | Contact Us | View Mobile Site

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2014. All Rights Reserved