William Collins scoops debut of St Paul's Girls' high mistress

William Collins scoops debut of St Paul's Girls' high mistress

William Collins has bought the debut of the high mistress of St Paul’s Girls’ School, Clarissa Farr.

Arabella Pike, publishing director, bought UK Commonwealth rights including Canada from Patrick Walsh at PEW at auction for an undisclosed sum. It is scheduled for publication in spring 2019.

Farr has been high mistress of the private school in West London for the last 11 years and has taught English and Drama in six schools, state and independent, as well as a stint in Hong Kong. She said she was inspired to write the non-fiction book after being mistaken for a "high priestress" by a prospective pupil. 

Her book will draw on her experience of working in education as well as her insight “as a pupil, a young teacher and a mother”. It will explore ideas around leadership, how to encourage excellence in young people, the future of education as well as how to cope with the challenges of growing up including bullying and transgender awareness. A spokesperson said: “It will be a personal account of an extraordinary career and a provocative look at the state of the nation’s education system and what needs to change.

Pike said: “As head of one of the most successful schools in the country, Clarissa Farr has long been a key figure in education. In this first book, she shares the wealth of her extensive experience for parents, teachers, business leaders and managers everywhere. As the demands and stresses of the modern world increase, her book informs, entertains and explains how best to nurture excellence in children – girls especially – across all aspects of education and training to equip them for adult life.” Pike added that Farr would be a “much-needed, fresh voice in the field”.

Farr said: “Recently, a prospective pupil asked me if I was the high priestess (the title is, absurdly enough, high mistress). I took this as a sign that it was time to set aside delusions of grandeur and sharpen my pencils. Arabella understood immediately what I wanted to achieve with the book and I much look forward to our collaboration.”

She added: “In the book I want to help people come to terms with their own education (because it’s time we all did), to let on about what’s happening in schools today (because your children never tell you anything) and to put down a few markers for the future (because sooner than you think, they will be making the decisions about us).”