The Bukowski Agency - Sunray

Read an excerpt
See also www.nicholagoddard.com

70,000 words

RIGHTS SOLD

Canada: Key Porter, Aug 2010
Canada (English paperback): McArthur & Company, Mar 2012

ABOUT VALERIE FORTNEY

Valerie Fortney (Photo courtesy of the author)
(Photo: Janet Pliszka of Visual Hues Photography Inc.)

Valerie Fortney is a veteran Canadian journalist with a successful career in broadcasting, magazines, and newspapers. She was a regular contributor in the 1990s to the popular CBC Radio show Basic Black, and served as a frequent commentator for CBC Newsworld. Her passion, however, has always been the written word. Valerie’s feature writing has appeared across North America and around the world, in publications such as Chatelaine, The Los Angeles Times and Reader’s Digest International. In the 1990s, she was the founding editor of Avenue magazine, a Calgary magazine named Best New Magazine at the 1997 National Magazine Awards. The magazine won several other regional and national awards during her tenure.

A columnist and feature writer at the Calgary Herald since 1998, Valerie has been recognized for her versatility through two National Newspaper Award nominations, one for breaking news, and the other for investigative work. As joint writer of a series on dowry scams in India, in 2006 she was awarded the Commonwealth Writers Union Pictures and Words prize, along with the Daniel Pearl Award for Print Journalism, an award presented by Columbia University and endorsed by the Daniel Pearl Award Foundation.

Sunray
The Death and Life of Captain Nichola Goddard

a biography by Valerie Fortney

WHEN SHE DIED ON THE BATTLEFIELDS OF AFGHANISTAN ON MAY 17, 2006, 26-YEAR-OLD CAPTAIN NICHOLA GODDARD BECAME THE 16TH CANADIAN SOLDIER TO DIE IN THAT COUNTRY SINCE 2002. SHE ALSO EARNED HERSELF A SPOT IN THE HISTORY BOOKS AS THE FIRST FEMALE CANADIAN SOLDIER TO DIE IN COMBAT IN MORE THAN A CENTURY OF FIGHTING AND PEACEKEEPING AROUND THE WORLD.

“Eschewing tragic, one-note platitudes, the book honours a fearless young woman who grew into a resilient warrior … The detail and research Fortney marshals renders the story universal, and reveals the difficult compromises that military life demands. This is not a book only for military enthusiasts or history buffs; it will reward any reader interested in the drama of a brave, inspiring life.”  — QUILL & QUIRE

Sunray coverGoddard, say her friends and family, would have hated being singled out for her gender: she was as strong, as capable and brave as any male in uniform. She was not just a soldier on equal footing with her fellow troops; she was a leader in one of the most dangerous positions in the armed forces, a Forward Observation Officer with the artillery unit.

But she was the most unlikely of soldiers. She was born to educators who described themselves as left-wing hippies and devoted their careers to building education systems in oppressed and war-torn countries. Tim and Sally Goddard lived and breathed a “books, not bombs” philosophy that took them everywhere from Papua New Guinea to Canada’s native reserves to Kosovo. Tim Goddard, now Dean of Education at the University of Prince Edward Island, continually challenged his daughter on her choices, both when she was a student at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, and, via regular phone calls and emails, while she served in the sweltering heat of Afghanistan. Nichola Goddard amongst the tribespeople of Papua New Guinea, 1985Whether or not he believed in the rightness of her chosen task, what mattered most to him was that Nichola live an examined life.

Sunray traces the journey of the Goddards, and Nichola, as they make their way around the world, exploring the influences on all as they form their worldviews and come to two very different approaches to serving one’s country and planet. The book is much more than the story of a young woman who died tragically; it is also the story of an incredible life lived all over the world, in which one family serves as the embodiment of the wider debate on the Afghanistan mission.

This is a story that holds wide appeal. In the telling of a young life ended all too early in the name of duty, it weaves tales of exotic places and eccentric people with an engaging biography of a notable Canadian woman. At the same time, it takes a hard look at the choices we make in places like Afghanistan, and the consequences of war.

PRAISE FOR SUNRAY

“Charismatic, tough and forever loyal, [Goddard] was a standout officer … Fortney uses dozens of detailed interviews – and, most importantly, Goddard's own dispatches from the front lines – to tell the complete story…  — MACLEANS

“On May 17, 2006, Nichola Goddard became the first Canadian woman to die in combat. She’s more than just a statistic, however, and Sunray meticulously pieces together her biography — from her globe-trotting childhood to her tour in Afghanistan — resulting in a thoughtful portrait of a truly modern soldier.  — CHATELAINE

“So much more than a soldier’s tale, Sunray is a poignant and inspiring portrait of one woman’s life and the profound choices that set her apart. Through exceptionally personal details, Valerie Fortney reveals the overwhelming backstory to the battlefield, capturing the graceful wit and intelligence that make Nichola Goddard a unique and reluctant heroine in Canada’s military history.”  — CTV NEWS, Lisa LaFlamme, National Affairs Correspondent

“A powerful tale. Poignant, personal, heroic. This is the story of Canada’s daughter, Captain Nichola Goddard, and it is both heartbreaking and inspiring. I couldn’t put this book down.”  — WILL FERGUSON, author and winner of the Pierre Berton Award of Canada's National History Society

“Fortney masterfully captures Nichola’s legacy by delving into a very personal account of her life and her profession, although a reader comes to appreciate that a soldier can hardly separate the two.”  — ON TRACK, The Conference of Defence Associations Institute

“Captain Nichola Goddard’s story is written with such extraordinary detail you can feel Kandahar’s powdery dust and see the tracer fire from Taliban insurgents.”  — NATIONAL POST, Don Martin, National Affairs columnist

 

 

 

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