Picador to republish McGarvey’s 'savage' exploration of poverty

Picador to republish McGarvey’s 'savage' exploration of poverty

Picador is set to republish a “savage” exploration of poverty which is vying for the Orwell Prize on Monday evening (25th June).

The Pan Macmillan imprint is partnering with Edinburgh-based independent publisher Luath Press to take Darren McGarvey’s Poverty Safari “to a broader audience”. The new paperback and e-book edition will be published on 6th August.

Kris Doyle, senior commissioning editor at Picador, negotiated a world rights deal with Gavin MacDougall at Luath Press for the book from McGarvey, also a Scottish rapper and Hip Hop recording artist known as 'Loki'.

A Picador spokesperson revealed how the title has “garnered glowing responses from a host of famous fans, including Irvine Welsh, Ken Loach, Paul Mason, Nicola Sturgeon and J K Rowling”, selling 13,424 print copies for £91,898 since November, according to Nielsen BookScan. It combines memoir, journalism and polemic to make the argument that both the political left and right hopelessly “misunderstand the complexity of poverty as it is actually experienced”. People from deprived communities all around Britain feel misunderstood and unheard and McGarvey gives voice to their feelings and concerns, and the anger that is spilling over, according to a Picador spokesperson.

The author recently appeared on “Question Time”, “Start the Week” and Russell Brand’s podcast, and this August he will take his highly acclaimed book to the stage in a ground-breaking Edinburgh Fringe show, “Poverty Safari Live”. 

McGarvey is based in East Kilbride and was an activist during the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. Poverty Safari is his debut and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for political writing earlier this year, the winner of which will be announced on Monday evening (25th June).

“McGarvey is as intelligent, articulate, bold and powerful a writer as I’ve ever read, especially on the subjects of poverty and working-class experience, and when you add in that he’s razor-sharp, funny, inspiring, shocking and entertaining… well, all I can say is that his book blew me away,” Doyle said.

“Luath Press and Darren have done an amazing job in reaching the readership they already have, but this book should be read by every citizen of this country who would like to better understand life as it is really lived in Britain today.”

Doyle described how the Picador team is “looking forward to using our scale and global reach to get this book to the even larger audience it certainly deserves”.

MacDougall added: “We’re delighted to be working with Picador to reach a wider readership. From the moment Darren came to see me with an initial A4 outline of what Poverty Safari might be, through to the first ever standing ovation I’ve witnessed at Edinburgh International Book Festival – and I must have been to 300 or more events [there]  – and on to the Sunday Times Top 10 and the Orwell Prize shortlisting, we’ve always been convinced that this book can and will make a real difference to people’s lives.

“What Darren does in Poverty Safari is analyse his own lived experience to challenge the ‘poverty industry’ and all of us to rethink our own ways of thinking. We don’t have the muscle to reach the readership this book deserves. Picador does and will.”