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At age 25 she went Chasing Lemurs in Madagascar



“Oh, I meant to tell you,” Keriann McGoogan said.
“Yes?” I responded. We were striding through the night at a good clip, my super-fit, thirty-something daughter and I. Often, after a movie night, and if Travis is out of town, Sheena and I will walk her home from our house, half a dozen city blocks. But tonight, I forget why, we were just the two of us.
“I’m writing a book,” she said.
Over the years, I’d been after her sporadically to do just that.  Still, I was surprised. “You’re writing a book? What kind of book?”
“A memoir,” she said. “The Madagascar story?”
“What? But that’s fantastic!” My next question, one of several that I am hard-wired to ask, just popped out: “How many words have you got in the can?”
I thought she would say 5,000, maybe 10,000 – a solid beginning. And I was ready to cheer.
But Keriann has an uncanny ability to anticipate me, and I realize in retrospect that she knew I would ask that question. She was ready for me. She glanced over to watch my reaction: “Just over 70,000.”
"Over 17,000? Impressive."
"No, 70,000."
“70,000? 70,000 words? But that’s . . . that’s a whole book!"
"It's just first draft."
"You must be almost finished.”
“Probably 10,000 words to go.”
So that’s how I found out what Keriann was up to. Eight or ten months ago, while charging into the night.
Now she has a book deal. With Prometheus Books based in Amherst, New York. Provocative, progressive & independent.  Sold and distributed worldwide by Penguin Random House. And Keriann's first book has a title. CHASING LEMURS: My Journey into the Heart of Madagascar. It will surface early in 2020.
Keriann describes it as “a memoir of scientific exploration and emerging womanhood, a celebration of biodiversity, and a love letter to the people of Madagascar. When I was twenty-five, I traveled to Madagascar with a clear purpose: to study lemurs in their natural habitat and to set up a permanent field site in the remote northwest —a site to which I could later return to do research for my PhD in Biological Anthropology.
“Despite careful planning, the trip spiraled out of control. A simple reconnaissance turned into an epic adventure marked by food poisoning, hairy back-country roads, grueling hikes, challenging local politics, malaria, and an emergency evacuation.”
Keriann is on the road as I write this. Before she left town, she made me promise that I wouldn’t go all crazy over her signing this book deal. I think I can make the case that I have remained within the bounds of sanity.  This is what paternal sanity looks like.

Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.