Sunday, February 03, 2008
This is a first, a slightly odd one. Readers of the pulped pine edition of The Sunday Times will see only this short news story by me. Readers of the quantum shimmer edition will also get the full version of my interview with Ishmael Beah, author A Long Way Gone. This happened because I made a rooky feature writing mistake. I worked too hard. I interviewed Beah and then started treating it not as an interview but as news story. The result was that on Friday I found myself with breaking news on my hands - the discovery of the documents in Sierra Leone. A flurry of activity, confusion and apologies ensured. News people are carnivores, feature writers herbivores. So my feature was pulled from News Review and reduced in the manner of a Gordon Ramsay sauce for news. The original feature survives online but not on paper. This means that one extraordinary detail is preserved. This is the fact that the map of Sierra Leone at the front of the British paperback edition is the wrong scale - 200 miles in the real world becomes 1200 in the book. Weird. A good, strange story.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:56 am