Picador publisher Paul Baggaley and Picador poetry publisher Don Paterson have acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to an autobiography and a new poetry collection by the poet and performer Dr John Cooper Clarke from Phil Jones and Siobhan Hanley at Edge Street Live.

John Cooper Clarke is a phenomenon: Poet Laureate of Punk, rock star, fashion icon, TV and radio presenter, social and cultural commentator, reluctant national treasure. At 5 feet 11 inches (116 lbs, 32" chest, 27" waist), in trademark suit jacket, skin-tight drainpipes and dark glasses, with jet-black back-combed hair and mouth full of gold teeth, he is instantly recognisable. As a writer his voice is equally unmistakable and his inimitable dry Salford drawl shines through the prose and poetry in these two wonderful books.

The autobiography covers an extraordinary life, filled with remarkable personalities: from Nico to Chuck Berry, from The Clash, Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols to Bernard Manning, and on to more recent fans and collaborators Alex Turner and Plan B – who have championed his work.

Interspersed with stories of his rock ’n’ roll and performing career, John also reveals his passions – his boggling encyclopaedic knowledge of twentieth‐century popular culture, his private passions and guilty pleasures: from Baudelaire, Pam Ayres and Rimbaud to football, Elvis movies, horse racing, The Simpsons, The Sweeney, politics and jokes – and a great deal more.
This is a much-anticipated and extraordinary story told entirely in John’s unique voice.

The poetry will be John’s first new collection since Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt in 1981. To call it long-awaited is an understatement. The poems are filled with rapid-fire, razor-sharp commentaries, riotous flights of the imagination and idiosyncratic ruminations on a mind-bending breadth of topics.

Paul Baggaley, Publisher at Picador, said: ‘I have been a huge fan of John Cooper Clarke’s writing and performance since my teens (and his twenties). Since I became a publisher, it has been an ambition of mine to find a way to work with John and to help readers discover his astonishing writing. Now seems to me to be the perfect time to fulfil this, and these two books will celebrate John’s unique voice as well as his unique life.’

Don Paterson, Poetry Publisher at Picador, said: ‘JCC was crucially influential in getting my own generation into poetry in the first place. He gave us the courage of our non-Home Counties, non-RP voices, encouraged us to pay attention to politics and social history, and showed us how to articulate our anger and how to time a punchline. Most crucially, he taught us that page or no page – if it doesn’t work when it hits the air, it’s a waste of time.’

John Cooper Clarke said: ‘As a life-long professional poet, I cannot recommend this book enough. And if you want to know what kind of guy writes this stuff, then I refer you to my forthcoming memoirs. Both are brought to you by my favourite publishers, Picador.’

The poetry collection will be published as a Picador hardback in autumn 2018 and the autobiography will be published as a Picador hardback in 2019.  

For publicity enquires please contact Dusty Miller [email protected] / 0207 014 6188 6082

Photo of John Cooper Clarke copyright: Paul Wolfgang Webster