Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kennedy Memoirs Said to Fetch $8 Million

New York Times overnight:

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the most prominent surviving member of the Kennedy family, has agreed to sell his memoirs for an advance of more than $8 million, people with knowledge of the negotiations say.

After a six-day auction that concluded Nov. 19, Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, bought world rights for the autobiography. Before the deal can be completed, Mr. Kennedy must clear his publishing contract with the Senate Ethics Committee.
Jonathan Karp, publisher and editor in chief of Twelve, said he hoped to publish the book in the fall of 2010. Mr. Kennedy is “walking, talking history,” Mr. Karp said, “and there’s no limit to what he can talk about with authority and distinctive personal perspective.”
Mr. Kennedy, 75, was first elected as Democratic senator from Massachusetts for a partial term in 1962 after his brother John F. Kennedy became president. He was then elected to eight full terms and ranks second only to Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, in length of service.

Mr. Kennedy has become a leading liberal legislator who has championed causes including the minimum wage, health care and immigration policy. As the youngest of the nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, he has a dramatic family history, and he is the first Kennedy of his generation to write an autobiography.
“I’ve been fortunate in my life to grow up in an extraordinary family and to have a front-row seat at many key events in our nation’s history,” Mr. Kennedy said in a statement.

For the past three years, he has been working with the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia on an oral history of his life, and those tapes will serve as source material for his autobiography.
Mr. Kennedy, who will work with a co-writer, is expected to write candidly about his personal history, including the 1969 Chappaquiddick accident in which he drove a car off a bridge on Martha’s Vineyard, resulting in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, a former member of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s staff. He will also write about his unsuccessful bid for the presidency.
Jamie Raab, publisher of Grand Central Publishing, declined to comment specifically on the size of the advance. But, Ms. Raab said: “One always feels a bit nervous when you spend a great deal of money. But I don’t feel as nervous as I would with other books at these figures because it touches on so many audiences, and I think we can get them all.”

Robert B. Barnett, the lawyer who negotiated the deal for Mr. Kennedy, said foreign publishers had already expressed interest in the book.
Stephanie Cutter, an adviser to Mr. Kennedy, said the senator would donate a “significant proportion of the proceeds” to charity.

Ms. Cutter said the book deal did not signal the senator’s intention to end his public career.
“Senator Kennedy is committed to serving the people of Massachusetts, and this book has no impact on his future plans to continue his career in the Senate,” she said. “He was just re-elected in 2006 and has no plan to retire.”

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