Depending on the outcome of Oscar Pistorius’ sentencing on Oct. 13, there may be a memoir documenting the sensational trial. Pistorius’ manager Peet van Zyl recently told the Guardian that his client was considering writing a book about his experiences.
Following a high-profile trial that held a global audience captive, the South African Paralympic athlete was recently acquitted of the most serious charges brought against him for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year. Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, which is the rough equivalent of involuntary manslaughter in American courts. He will be sentenced Oct. 13, and he could either walk without jail time or be sentenced to up to 15 years. He is currently free on bail.
Van Zyl said that Pistorius worked on the book proposal in the months leading up to his murder trial, and Guardian writer David Smith wrote that the book will help Pistorius “to restore personal finances that have been exhausted by legal fees, but also risk charges of exploiting the situation.”
“He will write his own book,” Van Zyl told the Guardian. “We’ve discussed it. We’ve talked about ideas and concepts…. We have to wait until 13 October before we can think about anything. After that we will tell the world what we are going to do.”
Although Pistorius has his supporters, for those who believe he got away too lightly for killing Steenkamp – which he does not dispute – the idea he might profit from a book about her death has led some who have written about it to draw parallels to O.J. Simpson. After his 1995 trial, when Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife Nicole Brown Simpson, he wrote the infamous memoir “If I Did It,” which included a bizarre chapter he claimed was a fictional account of what might have happened if he in fact did kill Brown. Because of public outcry over the book, the publisher stopped its publication, and remaining copies of the controversial book were taken off the shelves.
There are already a number of books out about Pistorius, written before and after Steenkamp’s death.
Five years ago, Pistorius published his autobiography “Blade Runner,” using his nickname as the title. On Sept. 9, “Oscar: An Accident Waiting to Happen,” was released, written by Patricia Taylor and her daughter Samantha, Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend — who testified during his trial. The book was billed as “the all-exclusive inside story of ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor’s tumultuous romantic relationship with the gold-medal athlete which turned into every mother’s nightmare.”
South African journalist Barry Bateman’s book with co-writer Mandy Wiener, “Behind the Door: The Oscar and Reeva Steenkamp Story,” comes out in October, and Bateman told the Guardian that producers are already expressing interesting in a screenplay. The movie based on Pistorius, he says, is “inevitable.” John Carlin, author of “Chase Your Shadow: The Trials of Oscar Pistorius,” says that Pistorius’ story is “a classic tragic hero’s fall.”
In the view of South African Sunday Times editor Ben Williams, Pistorius’ memoir “could go either way. If you do it right, you could have the sports biography of the century. On the other hand, he’s not the most popular person in some circles, so you could have a tremendous backlash that sinks the book.”