Faber to republish Gilroy's 'trailblazing' memoir

Faber to republish Gilroy's 'trailblazing' memoir

Faber has acquired pioneering teacher and writer Beryl Gilroy's memoir, Black Teacher.  

First published in 1976 and out of print for years, the memoir recounts Gilroy's experiences as a young teacher who left British Guiana to study in London in 1952, only to be faced with a racist post-war society — but nevertheless forged a revolutionary career as one of Britain's first Black headteachers.

Faber will publish in hardback in July 2021 with a new foreword by Bernardine Evaristo, celebrating its "wit, perceptiveness, humour and compassion", and a campaign marking the 20th anniversary of Gilroy's death.

Editor Ella Griffiths acquired UK and Commonwealth rights including audio in Beryl Gilroy's Black Teacher from Giulia Bernabè at PFD. 
Griffiths said: "It's an honour for Faber to be republishing Black Teacher. Whether evoking the East End's bombsites, English suburbia or the pupils in her classroom, Gilroy is a genius storyteller; and we can't wait for a new generation to experience her wonderful characters and unflinching observations."

In a statement the Gilroy Estate said: "Beryl Gilroy was decades ahead of her time in terms of understanding children; and over almost 50 years, she made a significant contribution to British education. Her ability to recognise each pupil's unique needs and capabilities inspired generations to resist the limits placed on them by post-war British society. Black Teacher is the sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, but always inspiring story of her struggle against those who sought to diminish her through the lens of racism to determine her future.

"Gilroy was a woman who dismantled obstacles to ensure the success of her pupils, gain the respect of her peers and find her place in history — and Black Teacher tells her thought-provoking story."

Gilroy was born in 1924 in British Guiana, where she trained as a teacher before studying child development at the University of London in 1952. For years she was denied teaching positions due to the colour bar but eventually became Camden's first Black headteacher in 1969. As well as her memoir, Gilroy wrote poetry, essays and fiction, including the prize-winning Frangipani House (1986), Boy-Sandwich (1989) and In Praise of Love and Children (1996) as well as for the multicultural children’s series, Nippers. She later worked at the Tavistock Clinic, BBC, Race Relations Board and Institute of Education.