Politician Ken Clarke has signed a deal with Pan Macmillan for his memoirs Kind of Blue, following a "heated seven-publisher auction".
Clarke is reported to have received £430,000 for the deal, according to the Sunday Times. The publisher signed the deal for UK and Commonwealth rights through agent Natasha Fairweather of agency United Agents, with the book coming In October.
Pan Macmillan revealed the memoir takes its title both from Clarke’s position to the left of the Conservative Party, which often led Margaret Thatcher to question whether he was a "true blue", and from Miles Davis’ jazz album of 1959 that was influential in developing Clarke’s musical taste.
Clarke, 46 years a Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire, has reportedly already written around 100,000 words of the book.
One publisher told the newspaper: “Having read two of the chapters, one about what it was like serving in the Thatcher cabinet, the book is a good and revealing read. He has an eye for detail and a great memory. It is rather like [F] Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby — being at the big parties and observing what’s going on.”
Anthony Forbes Watson, managing director for Pan Macmillan, commented: “Ken Clarke has been the pungent and pugnacious voice of common sense over decades at the top of British politics; he has always been more popular with the people than with his own party, and Ken's story is the one we have been waiting to read. I'm delighted it will be published by Macmillan.”
Georgina Morley, editorial director for non-fiction, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be Ken’s publisher. His book will be a riveting insight into over forty years of public life and his trenchant views on everything from Margaret Thatcher to his beloved jazz will enthral readers of all political persuasions.”
Clarke added: “I never thought that I would bother to write my memoirs, but a keen young assistant persuaded me to do so. No one can argue with the quantity of political life I’ve been through, though the quality may be controversial to some! I’ve tried to give a genuine personal insight into the extraordinary events I’ve had the fortune to be involved in – so far.”