Sunday, July 25, 2021
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Julie Burchill finds new publisher after her book about cancel culture was cancelled


Edinburgh-based indie, Stirling Publishing has acquired world rights for Julie Burchill’s book, which was dropped by her original publisher Little, Brown, part of Hachette, last December.

Ironically, the journalist’s book, Welcome To The Woke Trials: How #Identity Killed Progressive Politics, which was due out this spring , became a casualty of the very issue it was describing, after Burchill made several comments on Twitter to Muslim “libertarian communist” journalist Ash Sarkar, including a reference about the age of one of the Prophet Mohammed’s wives.

The tweets were branded “deplorable” by Little, Brown’s managing director Charlie King in a letter to staff, the book was dropped and the company issued the following statement: “While there is no legal definition of hate speech in the UK, we believe that Julie’s comments on Islam are not defensible from a moral or intellectual standpoint, that they crossed a line with regard to race and religion, and that her book has now become inextricably linked with those views.”

At the time, Burchill retorted that she would look for another publisher. “They said I’d crossed the line and would probably do so again. They’re not wrong. But they knew what I was like,” adding that the Free Speech Union made sure that Hachette paid her full advance back, and that at least three publishers who were “brave and small as opposed to big and cowardly”  were interested in her book.

Stirling is billing it as “the book on cancel culture they tried to cancel”, while stating that it is “committed to free speech and unafraid to publish provocative but necessary voices”.

The book will come out later this summer.

According to Stirling’s website: “In 2013, Julie Burchill wrote a mischievous piece in theObserver in defence of her friend Suzanne Moore. Burchill hadn’t anticipated the vitriolic reaction that her words would provoke. She was pursued by the outrage mob, and there were even calls in the House of Commons for her to be sacked.

Seven years later Burchill – ‘the dark star of Fleet Street’ – was back with a column in a national newspaper and a book deal with a major corporate publisher. But it wasn’t long before the outrage mob returned.Welcome to the Woke Trials is part memoir and part indictment of what happened to Burchill between then and now,” calling the book “a characteristically entertaining analysis of the continuing and disturbing phenomenon of #woke culture, written with the curious blend of sophistication and vulgarity that has made Julie Burchill a household name.”

Earlier this month, Kazuo Ishiguro, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017, warned that a “climate of fear” was preventing some people from writing what they want. “I very much fear for the younger generation of writers, and I think that is a dangerous state of affairs.”


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