The New York Times reported this morning that a book about oil in the Middle East published in 2006 by John Wiley & Sons was partially plagiarized from a Wikipedia article.
The name of the book’s author? George Orwel.
Reached by phone this morning at his home in Brooklyn, Mr. Orwel said there was nothing to discuss. “I’m not the author of 1984,” he said, adding that the ‘r’ in his name is silent.
Asked about the origin of his name, Mr. Orwel explained that he was born in Kenya, and originally baptized “George Joshua Owuor.” In 1994, he said, he moved to the United States, where he interned briefly at CNN before enrolling at Columbia University. Later, when it came time to register as a naturalized U.S. citizen, he said, he decided to change his last name to something that was easier to pronounce. He chose “Orwel,” which was the name of one of his father’s friends.
“If you’re taking somebody’s name, that’s a problem, but I have my own,” he said. “There’s no confusion because I have a different spelling.”