Clanchy finds new publisher for book revised after 'racism' row
Swift Press will publish Kate Clanchy’s Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, along with her prose backlist, after Pan Macmillan parted company with the poet and author, The Bookseller has reported.
The independent publisher approached the author after she and Picador cut ties “by mutual consent”, with Pan Macmillan reverting the rights and ceasing distribution of all her work.
In 2018 Clanchy was awarded an MBE in 2018 for her services to literature, after decades of teaching young people poetry, English and creative writing. She has been working with migrant and refugee children at Oxford Spires Academy for more than 10 years and has edited an anthology of pupils’ poems, England: Poems from a School. Clanchy still posts poems by pupils and former pupils on Twitter.
Clanchy's Orwell Prize-winning book was criticised last summer for its portrayal of young people, including accusations of racial stereotyping and problematic descriptions of other children, including those with autism. Three of Clanchy's critics faced racial abuse online, prompting an open letter in their support, eventually signed by more than 1,000 people.
Picador had said it was working with Clanchy on a revised version of the book. However, a joint statement by Pan Macmillan and Clanchy last month said this would no longer be published and the two parties were going their separate ways.
Swift has already made the e-book of Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me available, with minor revisions and a new afterword, and will publish a physical edition "as soon as possible". It will be followed by the rest of her prose backlist. Another independent publisher has approached Clanchy to publisher her poetry, it is understood.
In a statement, Swift Press said: "Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me is, among other things, an exploration of difference in a multicultural society, and the larger forces at work on the life-chances of different kinds of pupils, told through the lens of one teacher with a lifetime of experience. Kate Clanchy writes about her students with deep affection, and it is clear that she wants them to do as well as they possibly can.
"And that’s to leave aside the multiple testimonies from her pupils about the extraordinary difference she has made to their lives. Partly because she writes with an often self-lacerating honesty, and in a way that explicitly shows her moving from positions of ignorance – or even prejudice – to ones of understanding, reasonable people have disagreed as to whether she was able successfully to capture the potential tensions between difference and sameness without exacerbating them. But it is our fundamental view as a publisher that readers should be able to make up their own minds."