Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Amanda Knox set to break silence with million dollar book deal

Amanda Knox

Since her release from an Italian prison, the only words that Amanda Knox has uttered in public were brief, tearful comments directed to the scrum of reporters who had gathered outside Seattle's Tacoma airport to witness her homecoming.

In a brief press conference, she thanked supporters, wondered out loud if her acquittal was all a dream, and offered no fresh disclosures about the events which had just seen her incarcerated for a little over 1,500 days.



Today, that discretion looks like a canny piece of news management. Four months after Ms Knox returned to the US, the story of the former exchange student's arrest, conviction, imprisonment and eventual release is reported to have attracted a seven-figure price tag.



A proposed memoir, based on a diary she kept before, during and after the death of her British flatmate, Meredith Kercher, is said to have sparked a bidding war between America's wealthiest publishers: Simon & Schuster, Random House, Penguin and Harper Collins.



The New York Times reported yesterday that Ms Knox and her agent, Robert Barnett – who has previously negotiated literary deals for Barack Obama and Bill Clinton – have been holding meetings with editors, publicists and senior executives from interested firms.



A guest at one of the discussions said: "Everyone fell in love with her." An employee of a publishing house bidding for the memoir commented: "The world has heard from everybody else, but the world has not actually heard from Amanda Knox."



The million-dollar value attached to Ms Knox's story is an understandable by-product of the enduring fascination she sparks on both sides of the Atlantic, despite having succeeded in staying out of the public eye since her release.



Supporters peg her as the innocent victim of a conspiracy fuelled by a hungry media, the Italian police force and a chaotic justice system. Opponents believe that she's a cunning femme fatale who got away with murder. Ms Knox, now 24, and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were acquitted after serving more than four years, due to concerns about the handling of DNA samples used to secure their conviction. Neither has yet answered wider questions about the case. Ms Knox's book will allow her to do that, and also help to pay off her family's considerable legal bills.



Celebrity memoirs: The big earners



Bill Clinton



The former US president received an advance of $15m for his memoirs.



Wayne Rooney



HarperCollins paid the footballer £5m for five books over 12 years.



Keith Richards



The guitarist earned £4.8m for his chronicle of his wild lifestyle.



Julian Assange



The WikiLeaks founder became the first person to disown their autobiography as "unauthorised", but still pocketed an advance of £1.2m.