Kate Clanchy, writer and poem who has been a teacher for 30 years has beaten several shortlisted titled to win the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.
Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught me is described as a ‘moving and powerful’ memoir, about Clanchy’s time working as a teacher in the state education system. Clanchy has served as a teacher for 30 years, working in London, Scotland, Essex, and Oxford, and judges called her a “brilliantly honest writer” who took on “a subject that ties so many people in knots – education and how it is inexorably dominated by class.
In her acceptance speech for the £3,000 prize, Clanchy said “schoolteachers are not taken seriously in so many different ways: not by politicians, not as intellectuals, and not as artists. So for this to win the prize for ‘political writing as art’ means so much to me, and I hope it will mean something for other teachers, because if there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that teachers are very important and very necessary, and that schools are communities, and without them we rip big holes in our societies,” she said. “This is the prize, of all prizes, I would have wanted.”