Chasing Lemurs will surface next Spring

Spring, 2020. Mark your calendar. That’s when Prometheus Books will bring out Chasing Lemurs: My Journey into
the Heart of Madagascar
. You know: Keriann McGoogan’s first book?

The one I heard about ten months ago, while striding into
the night with my super-fit, thirty-something daughter? “Oh, I meant to tell
you,” Keriann said.

“Yes?” I responded. 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, it was just the two of us.

“I’m writing a book,” she said.

Over the years, I’d badgered 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?”

“Of course! But that’s fantastic!”

My next question, one that I am hard-wired to ask, just
popped out: “How many words have you got in the can?” I figured she would say
5,000, maybe 10,000. And when I heard her say, “Just over 7,000,” I started cheer.
“Over 7,000! That’s a solid beginning.”

“No, dad,” she said. “Not seven. Seventy. Just over

“70,000? 70,000 words?” I clasped my head and reeled around. “But that’s . . . that’s an
entire book!  You must be nearly

“First draft, yes. Maybe 10,000 words to go.”

So that’s how I found out what Keriann was up to. Ten
or so months ago, while striding into the night. Next thing I knew, she had a
book deal. With Prometheus Books of New York. Prometheus will publish Chasing
under its own imprint as part of the Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group.

Keriann describes the book as “a memoir of scientific
exploration and emerging womanhood, a celebration of biodiversity, and a love
letter to the people of Madagascar.” When she was twenty-five, which to me seems like yesterday, she traveled
to Madagascar to study lemurs in their natural habitat and to set up a
permanent field site where, in the remote northwest, she could do research for her
PhD in Biological Anthropology. “Despite careful planning, the trip spiraled
out of control.” she writes. “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.”

The book will include a fair bit of science and photos of lemurs (like the one above) by Travis Steffens, founder of Planet Madagascar and (not incidentally) Keriann’s husband. Come to think of it, you needn’t mark your calendar just yet. As the occasion draws nigh, probably I will have occasion to remind you of it.

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