April 2012

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Amanda Knox memoirs: A justified million-dollar bidding war?

Most British people, if asked, would say that Amanda Knox is very lucky not to still be in prison, whereas the American public view her as a victim of the Italian ‘justice’ system. Her memoirs are scheduled to be published in the near future, and this article explores the different impacts of the million-dollar memoirs and looks at the reasons why the publication has attracted much attention from world renowned publishing companies, despite the likely repercussions it will have.

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Amanda Knox

In November 2007, Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted of killing 21-year-old British student, Meredith Kercher. On appeal in October 2011, these convictions were overturned, after the pair had spent four gruelling years in Italian prisons.

At the end of last year, it was reported that Knox was negotiating an official book deal to publish her memoirs of Kercher’s death and the subsequent experiences within the Italian justice system. It has been recently announced that publishing rights have been secured by HarperCollins for a massive $4 million.

Prior to the conclusion of this deal, various US companies competed for the publishing rights. Such strong competition and the enormous price tag that was secured for these rights suggest that the publishers have every confidence that the book will be a huge success. The question we need to ask in light of this is whether it should be? The world has heard from everybody but Amanda Knox on the Kercher case, but is it right to allow her the privilege of sharing her side of the story?

The publication will not be received well by those who believe that Knox had a lucky escape in light of her quashed conviction and still perceive her to be the guilty ‘Foxy Knoxy’ that the media portrayed. But for others who believe that Knox had to endure a trial by the tabloids and the court of public opinion as well as the justice system, the publication will shed light on unknown, unheard facts of the case which may overturn the various media ‘charges’.

Also the publication aims to highlight the flaws in the Italian justice system. The book has the potential to challenge the system, and may effect great changes in the Italian justice system as a whole. Knox and Sollecito’s convictions were overturned due to dubious forensic evidence relating to the murder weapon and the role of the pair at the murder scene, and further concerns have been raised about poor procedures in evidence collection and forensic testing, and possible contamination. The memoirs will also contain accounts of Knox’s harrowing experience at the hands of the Italian police and later prison guards and inmates. 

However, such apparent positivity cannot be condoned at the expense of the further suffering of the Kercher family. As if it is not enough for the Kercher’s family to have suffered the loss of their beloved daughter, every aspect of the case has been dragged through the media and subject to scrutiny. Their simple search for justice has been almost overshadowed by the ‘circus’ surrounding Knox and her appeal.

The agony for the family will only continue after the murder convictions were dropped as they return to square one in their search for how their little girl came to be so horrifically killed. For Knox to become the ‘victim’ in light of her memoirs, and to overshadow the true victim of the case, the justice for the family will be further neglected.

At the end of the day, the publication will have different impacts on everyone on account of the stance they take towards the case. American publishers obviously have every faith in the book’s success, and rightly so as it is bound to be a fascinating read. But we must not overlook the fact that for many the content of the book will undermine or seek to justify a murky crime with a British victim at the heart of it.


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