• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Kate Clanchy ‘parts company’ with publisher after row of discrimination | Books

ByRandall B. Phelps

Jan 20, 2022

Kate Clanchy and her publisher Pan Macmillan will no longer work together, and distribution of all of her titles is to cease, following widespread criticism last summer of her book Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me.

Readers took to Goodreads and Twitter to point out racial tropes and ableist descriptions in Orwell’s award-winning book about Clanchy’s experience as a teacher. For example, one child was described as being “so small and square and Afghan with his big nose and premature mustache” while two students with autism were called a “discordant society”.

Following the complaints, Clanchy issued an apology in August and announced that his publisher had given him the opportunity to rewrite parts of the book.

However, in a joint statement from Clanchy and Pan Macmillan published in the Bookseller on Thursday, it was revealed that plans for the revised version, which was due out in the fall of 2021, have now been scrapped.

“By mutual agreement, Pan Macmillan and Kate Clanchy have decided to separate,” the statement read.

“Pan Macmillan will not release new titles or updated editions of Kate Clanchy, and will cancel the rights to and cease distribution of Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me and her other works.”

“Pan Macmillan wishes Kate Clanchy all the best for the future.”

This means that Friend: Poems by Young People, an anthology of Clanchy student work, will no longer be published by Pan Macmillan in March as planned.

Debates about Clanchy’s work and broader issues around sensitivity in the publishing industry were reignited in December when Clanchy wrote an article for Prospect magazine titled “Ostracized, Disinvited, Cancelled: What It’s About” is only to be cancelled”. This followed a Telegraph article on the ‘crisis’ of literary fiction, in which Pan Macmillan editor Philip Gwyn Jones expressed ‘regrets’ over the way he and his colleagues had handled the initial criticism of the Clanchy’s book. “We weren’t clear enough in our support for the author and his rights,” he told the newspaper, later apologizing for the comments on Twitter.

After the first complaints about Some Children I Taught and What They Taught Me surfaced in August, writers such as Philip Pullman and Amanda Craig came to Clanchy’s defense, while three of the critics of the book, Chimene Suleyman, Monisha Rajesh and Sunny Singh, were victims of racist abuse. social media users. This led to an open letter on their behalf, which was signed by over 1,000 people.

The events prompted an open invitation signed by authors Nikesh Shukla and Yara Rodrigues Fowler, among others, who proposed the formation of a group that would “change the UK publishing industry for the better”.

“Writers and workers frustrated by unfairness in publishing should join a union and organise,” Rodrigues Fowler told the Guardian. “It’s the only way to change the industry. History shows us that politely asking for-profit corporations to change never works, but building collective power does.