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Lynch book deal reportedly worth $1-million

By Associated Press
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 3, 2003

NEW YORK - Jessica Lynch has struck a $1-million deal for a book that will tell the story of her capture and rescue in Iraq. But questions remain over how much she remembers.

Publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced Tuesday that the former prisoner of war who became a national hero will collaborate on I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Rick Bragg.

The book is scheduled to come out in mid November, with a first printing of around 500,000 copies.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Associated Press, quoting an anonymous source close to the negotiations, reported that Lynch and Bragg will split a $1-million advance, with any royalties going to Lynch. The source spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Many folks have written, expressing their support for me and for the thousands of other soldiers who serve their country," Lynch said in a statement issued by Knopf.

"I feel I owe them all this story, which will be about more than a girl going off to war and fighting alongside her fellow soldiers. It will be a story about growing up in America."

Bragg has been granted exclusive access to Lynch and her family. Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards said any authorized film adaptation would likely have to be based on the book.

It is unclear how much Lynch will be able to tell Bragg. Doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington have said it is unlikely Lynch will remember the events of her capture. Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards, who visited with Lynch last week, said the state of her memory is "excellent," but declined to say what he and Lynch discussed. Bragg also declined to comment.

Lynch's grandmother, Wyonema Lynch, who lives across the street, said she looks forward to reading the book. "We don't talk about what happened to her over there," Mrs. Lynch said. "When she wants to tell me, she will."

Lynch, 20, received a medical discharge last week from the Army, making her eligible to pursue book or movie deals.

She suffered broken bones and other injuries when her 507th Maintenance Company was ambushed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah on March 23.

Her rescue on April 1 made her a celebrity, and she returned home to Palestine, W.Va., in July to a hero's welcome after a long stay at Walter Reed.

Bragg, a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times from 1989 to 1993, has written several books and won the Pulitzer for feature writing in 1996. He resigned from the New York Times in May after the newspaper suspended him over a story that carried his byline but was reported largely by a freelancer.

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