When a forger decides to use a famous byline

2 February 2008

When Robert Fisk, the London Independent‘s most famous byline, received a copy of a small, 272-page Arabic paperback biography of Saddam Hussain in the mail, he didn’t care much until he read a small note in English accompanying it.

“Robert,” it read. “Did you really write this?”

Robert really hadn’t. So he decided to trace the author who had forged his name, and the publisher in Cairo, Egypt.

“How many copies of this book have you sold,” I asked.

Mahmoud” drew on his cigarette. “At least 100 so far.”

“So you owe me 3,000 Egyptian pounds!” I was enjoying this.

“But, no, Mr Robert, we don’t owe you this,” “Mahmoud” said with a cringing smile. “Because you have just told me you didn’t write this book. How can we pay you for a book you did not write?”

Read the full story: The curious case of the forged biography

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