Exposing Untruths

After exposing the fraud of Norma Khouri's memoir Forbidden Love back in 2004, Malcolm Knox now looks at another memoir of suffering, Cola's Story by Cola Bilkuei.

After the Khouri affair, publishers promised to investigate their authors' backgrounds. But a publisher's task in checking on its author is very different from that of the journalist in uncovering a fraud. The publisher has little incentive to unveil a lie. The publisher is unwilling to commit scarce finances to a job that may confirm the author was trustworthy after all, leaving the publisher with a credible book that has sucked in too many resources to make a profit.

With Cola, I was asked to do the checking. It was, of course, impossible to verify exact dates from deep inside his African childhood. Most of his family, including his mother, two brothers and two sisters, died from war and disease. All he has left is his father and Monyleck, who live in Sudan and speak no English. Short of going to Sudan, there were limits on how much I could verify there. If Cola was a liar in the Norma Khouri class, he could line me up to speak to Sudanese impostors who would cover for him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 25, 2008 10:31 AM.

Kathy Lette Profile was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter from C.J. Dennis to The Argus is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en