US Sen Ted Kennedy to write autobiography

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NEW YORK, Nov 28 (Reuters) Sen Edward Kennedy, a member of one of America's leading political families whose presidential prospects ended in scandal, has signed a deal to write his autobiography.

The book will be published by Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing and Hachette Book Group USA, the publisher said in a statement yesterday.

Although the price tag was not officially disclosed, the Boston Globe quoted a source saying Kennedy, 75, would be paid more than the 8 million dollar paid to Sen Hillary Clinton for her memoirs. Other media reported the book had been the subject of a heated bidding war among publishers.

''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,'' Kennedy, a Democratic Senator from Massachusetts for 45 years, said in a statement.

''I hope my reflections can contribute to a deeper understanding of many events in the history of this great country and to a more in-depth picture of an American family,'' he said.

Kennedy is the younger brother of slain President John F Kennedy and of Sen Robert F Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 as he was campaigning for president.

Kennedy was considered a potential presidential contender until 1969 when he drove a car off a bridge and passenger Mary Jo Kopechne was killed in an incident that became a national scandal.

In the Senate, he is known for his liberal views and his oratory skills.

Kennedy previously wrote ''My Senator And Me: A Dog's Eye View Of Washington, D C'' and ''America Back on Track.'' ''Senator Kennedy is the personification of principled leadership. His book will be a valuable record for anyone who cares about our government, our politics and our growth as a nation,'' said David Young, chairman and chief executive officer of Hachette Book Group USA, in a statement.

''It will also tell the story of a remarkable American family that contributed to some of the most significant historical events of the last century,'' Young said.

The book is tentatively scheduled to be published in the autumn of 2010.

Reuters AK VP0455

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