Londoner’s Diary: Poet Kate Clanchy under fire again for ‘problem’ school book

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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Welcome to the first Londoner’s Diary of the week. Today, we report on author Kate Clanchy, under fire again in the publishing world for planned rewrites to her book about teaching children. And, How Robert Peston was stopped from including a questionable nipple description from his new thriller, and Matt Hancock’s running donations page comes a cropper. Also, we find Sally Rooney bookmarks on sale for £5, with her new book out tomorrow. In SW1A, the Tories’ open door policy to all ages, and another left-wing row in Labour.

Author under fire again for ‘problem’ school book

11:07 , Robbie Smith

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Author Kate Clanchy and her publisher Picador are under fire again after some of the literary world criticised the planned rewrite of her book Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me.

“We strongly suggest that Picador and Ms Clanchy reach out beyond the publishing world,” write the authors of an open letter, adding “families past and present and should not be excluded from the editorial process as they were previously. It may be legal to do so but it is not ethical”.

Clanchy’s book was criticised for its racially stereotyped descriptions of children. The author apologised last month and said she was “grateful” to have the chance to rewrite the book.

But the 350 strong signatories say that’s not enough. They demand that Picador and Clanchy “prioritise” five points including “informed consent from all concerned”.

They argue “we regret the decision to rewrite and question the probable sufficiency and efficacy of a reparative revision” and claim they are “concerned about the ongoing monetisation of a book which has been recognised as problematic”. Picador are due to reply today. Isn’t it time to move on?

Choppy seas over for Jack?

11:09 , Robbie Smith

 (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Modest! Golf)
(Dave Benett/Getty Images for Modest! Golf)

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank were at an event hosted by Niall Horan and golfer Justin Rose at The Grove hotel in Stratford at the weekend. Looks like Brooksbank has been forgiven for some pictures of him on a boat with a group of other women earlier in the summer.

Other guests included Lewis Capaldi, Kevin Pietersen, his wife Jessica Taylor, and Kirsty Gallacher.

Rooney hoopla? It’s not normal, people

11:10 , Robbie Smith

 (Metro)
(Metro)

It’s truly the publishing event of the season: Sally Rooney’s third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You is out tomorrow. Excitement is so high that The Londoner has found £5 novelty bookmarks with a quote from the book on eBay, and review copies of the book — supposedly not for resale — still available for £50. The publisher has already sent out bucket hats for lucky early readers, and a pop-up Rooney hub featuring candle making is opening in Shoreditch later in the week. You don’t get that with the new Jeffrey Archer.

Struck out, Peston and his racy scene

13:54 , Robbie Griffiths

Robert Peston (Dave Benett/Getty Images for The)
Robert Peston (Dave Benett/Getty Images for The)

Robert Peston’s blushes have been saved. ITV’s political editor, who this morning announced he has coronavirus (though thankfully is double jabbed), has just published political thriller The Whistleblower. He admits one blue scene had to be taken out before publication.

His partner Charlotte Edwardes, formerly of this parish, was aghast at one description of a woman. “It was a description of a nipple… she said, ‘you will be killed if you keep that in’.” Peston told the Fortunately podcast cryptically: “it was an analogy between a nipple and a finger” before adding: “I’m going to be in such trouble now for talking about this.”

SW1A

14:54 , Robbie Griffiths

The Tory Party is a very broad church. At their conference in Manchester next month they are taking applications from attendees who can select their birth year as… 66AD. A website glitch means some attendees may be thousands of years old, but those who are not yet born have a shot too — they can select a birth date up to 2301. Forward-thinking.

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Labour’s internal wars are hotting up ahead of conference this month. The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews has argued that Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, should withdraw from alternative conference The World Transformed, as he shouldn’t speak at an event where people suspended or expelled from Labour over anti-Semitism will also speak.

Hancock’s run out of favour

15:34 , Robbie Griffiths

Councillors in Newmarket, Suffolk, have passed a vote of no confidence in their local MP, former health secretary Matt Hancock (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Councillors in Newmarket, Suffolk, have passed a vote of no confidence in their local MP, former health secretary Matt Hancock (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Matt Hancock’s bid to win back constituents’ hearts has fallen at the first hurdle. The former Health Secretary — who resigned in June after a workplace affair — is running the London marathon next month, and made a JustGiving page for a hospice in his Norfolk constituency.

The site was flooded with mocking pledges such as one from his “mum”, finally happy for a reason to be proud of him, and one donor claiming to be his estranged wife. Now donations have been made anonymous. It may be a long road back.

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