Kennedy earns $2M for memoir

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has received a $2 million advance for his memoir, due out in the fall.

The 77-year-old lawmaker is expected to write about his long Senate career, his unsuccessful 1980 bid for the White House, the 1969 car accident on Chappaquiddick Island that killed Mary Jo Kopechne, a young aide to his brother, the late Robert Kennedy, and his current battle with brain cancer.

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Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group Inc., will print the memoir, titled True Compass. It is due out in the fall.

Kennedy reported the payment on his Senate financial disclosure form, which was made public on Friday.

Hatchette Book Group previewed the memoir in its Fall 2009/Spring 2010 catalog:

“In this landmark autobiography, five years in the making, Sen. Kennedy speaks with unprecedented candor about his extraordinary life.

“He writes movingly of his brothers and their influence on him; his marriage to the woman who changed his life, Victoria Reggie Kennedy; his role in the major events of our time (from the civil rights movement to the election of Barack Obama); and how his recent diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor has given even greater urgency to his long crusade for improved health care for all Americans.”

The catalog indicated that True Compass would be available in September.

The New York Times, citing sources with knowledge of negotiations, reported in November 2007 that Kennedy sold the rights to his memoir for more than $8 million. Kennedy, however, reported receiving a quarter of that amount in February of last year. He did not report any payments from Grand Central Publishing in 2008.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also reported significant income from his recent memoir, The Good Fight. He earned $135,903 in royalties and donated the proceeds to charity.

Putnam Adult published Reid’s memoir in May of 2008. Another Senate author, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), reported a publishing agreement with Chronicle Books LLC of San Francisco. She initially signed the agreement in 2004 and updated it in 2007. She did not report any payment.

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