16 June, 2021

A Life Among Books

A publisher's memoir of working with Naipaul and other writers

A Life Among Books
Stet is a term used by copy editors and proof readers to indicate that the correction marked should be cancelled, and the author’s original reinstated. It would be hard to conceive of a more apt metaphor for this delightful, quirky memoir of one of England’s most highly-respected literary editors.

Diana Athill is living proof of truth of that great publishing cliche: You Meet Such Interesting People. Her career in publishing has brought her into close contact with many of the great literary figures of our times—not only writers, like V.S. Naipaul, Mordecai Richler, Brian Moore and Jean Rhys, but publishers such as Andre Deutsche, with whom she worked for nearly 50 years.

What she doesn’t tell you—because she’s far too well brought up—is that she herself is one of those Interesting People. Athill is a wonderful combination of Miss Marple and Sancho Panza as Deutsche goes about his Quixotic tilting at the literary establishment, first under the imprint of Allan Wingate, and then as Andre Deutsche Ltd. Their first major book was Norman Mailer’s The...

In this article:

More from Anita Roy

Latest Magazine

June 21, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section