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Goat Face

Ahdaf Soueif, 3 July 1986

After a Funeral 
by Diana Athill.
Cape, 158 pp., £9.50, February 1986, 0 224 02834 0
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... the police.’ In 1961 he enters into correspondence with the publishing house of André Deutsch. Diana Athill was to become his editor there. Her book After a Funeral takes up the story when, in 1963 on a brief visit to London, Ghali comes to a party at her house. Miss Athill sets the tone from the first page. She ...

All I can do

Carole Angier, 21 June 1984

Jean Rhys: Letters 1931-1966 
edited by Francis Wyndham and Diana Melly.
Deutsch, 336 pp., £9.95, May 1984, 0 223 97567 2
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... hospital, she still wanted to make changes. But in March Max died, and Jean wrote to her editor, Diana Athill:   I’ve dreamt several times that I was going to have a baby ...   Finally I dreamt that I was looking at the baby in the cradle – such a puny weak thing.   So the book must be finished, and that must be what I think about it ...

Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore, 10 August 2000

Brian Moore: The Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... to melodrama, say, or in the case of Judith Hearne, a sort of tragedy. In 1957 in a letter to Diana Athill, his editor at André Deutsch, he wrote: I always want to give my character more diversity, more intellectual strength – something of that wonderful Dostoevskian quality of the unexpected, which, on examination, turns out to be the ...

Waving

Anthony Thwaite, 27 October 1988

Stevie Smith: A Critical Biography 
by Frances Spalding.
Faber, 331 pp., £15, October 1988, 0 571 15207 4
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... with most of whom she quickly established a remarkably lively and gossipy relationship. Diana Athill, John Guest, Terence Kilmartin, and many others, were recipients of chat, grumbles, doubts, jokes, questions, japes – often with cross-references to each other: if one editor disapproved of a new poem, she told you, and shot it in your ...

Narcissism and its Discontents

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 21 February 1980

Smile Please: An Unfinished Autobiography 
by Jean Rhys.
Deutsch, 173 pp., £4.95, November 1980, 0 233 97213 7
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Jean Rhys: A Critical Study 
by Thomas Staley.
Macmillan, 140 pp., £10, November 1980, 0 333 24522 9
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My Blue Notebooks 
by Liane de Pougy, translated by Diana Athill.
Deutsch, 288 pp., £7.50, October 1980, 0 233 97141 6
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The Maimie Papers 
edited by Ruth Rosen and Sue Davidson.
Virago, 450 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 86068 114 9
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Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough 
by Hugo Vickers.
Weidenfeld, 299 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 297 77652 5
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... Staying in Castries for the wedding was a young man called Mr Kennaway. When he watches me I can see that he doesn’t think I am pretty. Oh God, let me be pretty when I grow up. Jean Rhys was 12 at the time of the wedding in Castries, on the island of St Lucia. At the age of six a photograph had been taken of her: she looked very pretty then in a new white dress ...

Draw me a what’s-it cube

Adam Mars-Jones: Ian McEwan, 13 September 2012

Sweet Tooth 
by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 323 pp., £18.99, August 2012, 978 0 224 09737 6
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... to have him snapped up by Deutsch rather than Cape, providing the cue for an admiring sketch of Diana Athill, perhaps, rather than Tom Maschler. So, again, the effect is strongly intended, though bizarre. Haley and McEwan don’t blend into a composite. Instead, Serena and her author begin to alternate in the reader’s construction of the narrative ...
... most people who’ve been publishers’ readers will tell you that that never happens. But one day Diana Athill came into my cupboard and said: ‘Will you just have a look at these, they’re by a West Indian writer, V.S. Naipaul’, I read them and wrote Diana a report in which I said: ‘I know we never do short ...

Wolfish

John Sutherland: The pushiness of young men in a hurry, 5 May 2005

Publisher 
by Tom Maschler.
Picador, 294 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 330 48420 6
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British Book Publishing as a Business since the 1960s 
by Eric de Bellaigue.
British Library, 238 pp., £19.95, January 2004, 0 7123 4836 0
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Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Viking, 484 pp., £25, May 2005, 0 670 91485 1
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... pushy? He might have been better liked. Many of the harsh reviews of Publisher had kind words for Diana Athill’s memoir Stet (2000). Athill declines the title Maschler grandly bestows on himself. ‘I was not a publisher,’ she writes, ‘I was an editor.’ Athill, as her memoir ...

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