Gallery Books to Publish Charles Spencer’s School Memoir

NEW YORK, October 11–Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will publish A Very Private School: A Memoir by bestselling historian Charles Spencer, recounting his experience at one of the most exclusive boarding schools in England, it was announced today by Jennifer Bergstrom, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Gallery Books.

A Very Private School offers a clear-eyed, firsthand account of a culture of cruelty at the school Spencer attended in his youth and provides important insights into an antiquated boarding system. Drawing on the memories of many of his schoolboy contemporaries, as well as his own letters and diaries from the time, he reflects on the hopelessness and abandonment he felt when he was only eight years-old, viscerally describing the intense pain of homesickness and the appalling inescapability of it all. Exploring the long-lasting impact of his experiences, Spencer presents a candid reckoning with his past and a reclamation of his childhood.

Charles Spencer said, “I spent five years of my childhood in this school, trying to crack the code by which it lived. Now, forty-five years on, I think I’m finally there. I’m writing this book before my memories of half a century ago tip over into that chasm of forgetfulness that shadows old age. Beyond my own experiences, I wanted to look at what, really, was going on in this strangely secretive place. This book is a blend of chronicle and memoir that’s intended to stand as a piece of modern history – a record of a time, not so far back, when things were quite different for children in these most privileged of English institutions.”

Vice President and Editorial Director Aimee Bell at Gallery acquired North American rights and William Collins Publishing Director Arabella Pike acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Caroline Michel at PFD. Publication is slated for March 12, 2024.

Charles Spencer is the author of seven history books, including Sunday Times bestsellers – The White Ship: Conquest, Anarchy and the Wrecking of Henry I’s Dream, Blenheim: Battle for Europe (shortlisted for History Book of the Year, UK National Book Awards), and Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I. To Catch a King: Charles II’ s Great Escape, was a (London) Times bestseller in 2017 and 2018.

Charles co-hosts the Rabbit Hole Detectives podcast alongside Dr. Cat Jarman and Reverend Richard Coles. He has also presented documentaries for the History Channel and has been interviewed in his capacity as an expert historian on several occasions by the BBC, most recently in the BBC4 three-part series “Charles I: Downfall of a King.”

He was awarded an MA in Modern History from Magdalen College, Oxford University, before going on to work for the NBC News for a decade, as an on-air reporter for the Today show from 1986-1995 and a presenter for the History Channel.

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GALLERY BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster, is an imprint dedicated to publishing a variety of must-read books on a wide array of topics. Launched in 2010, Gallery is designed to showcase established voices and to introduce emerging new ones—in both fiction and nonfiction. Gallery Books is the publisher of Taste by Stanley Tucci, The Longest Race by Kara Goucher, My Travels with Mrs. Kennedy by Clint Hill, Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised by Carmelo Anthony, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, Zero Days by Ruth Ware, and Anna: The Biography by Amy Odell, among others.

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