Published to celebrate Faber's 90th anniversary, this is the story of one of the world's greatest publishing houses - a delight for all readers who are curious about the business of writing.
'The creation story of Faber is a striking drama ... Celebrating its 90th birthday this year, Faber boasts a phenomenal roster of successes ... What stays in the mind are some brilliant vignettes.' Sunday Times
The names of T. S. Eliot, William Golding, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Seamus Heaney are synonymous with the publishing house Faber & Faber, founded in Bloomsbury in 1929. But behind these stellar literary talents was a tiny firm that had to battle the Great Depression, wartime paper shortages and dramatic financial crises to retain its independence. This intimate history of Faber & Faber weaves together the most entertaining, moving and surprising letters, diaries and materials from the archive to reveal the untold stories behind some of the greatest literature of the twentieth century.
Highlights include Eliot's magnificent reading reports, Samuel Beckett on swearing and censorship, the publication of Finnegans Wake, the rejection of George Orwell's Animal Farm, P. D. James on tasting her first avocado, the first reader's response to Heaney's Death of a Naturalist, Philip Larkin's reluctance to attend poetry readings ('people's imaginary picture of you is always so much more flattering than the reality') and the discovery of Kazuo Ishiguro. The result is both a vibrant history and a hymn to the role of literature in all our lives.
'Ingeniously compiled ... one of the pleasures of this book is reading the early correspondences with writers who later became famous ... The very picture of old-school publishing, which, with its lunches and advances and cranky old book-lined offices, is so cheerfully celebrated in this charming and quirky history.' Evening Standard