|Born||16 August 1933|
|Died||15 October 2020 (age 87)|
|Known for||Booker Prize founder|
(m. 1970;div. 1987)
(m. 1988;his death 2020)
Thomas Michael Maschler (16 August 1933 –15 October 2020) was a British publisher and writer. He was noted for instituting the Booker Prize for British, Irish and Commonwealth literature in 1969. He was involved in publishing the works of many notable authors, including Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Heller, Gabriel García Márquez, John Lennon, Ian McEwan, Bruce Chatwin and Salman Rushdie.
Maschler was born in Berlin, Germany, to Austrian Jewish parents, Rita (Masseron) and Kurt Leo Maschler on 16 August 1933.His father was a publisher's representative. Maschler was five years old when his family fled to the UK from Vienna after the Nazi annexation ( Anschluss ) of Austria. After his parents' separation, he moved to Henley-on-Thames, where his mother took on a housekeeping job.
After studying at the Leighton Park School, he went to Roscoff, France, where he earned a scholarship to spend the summer in an Israeli kibbutz. It is mentioned that he had written a letter to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who intervened to arrange a passage for Maschler from Marseille to Haifa.He went on to spend the next three years travelling across the US, working in a tuna cannery, and assorted construction jobs, while writing for the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times . He returned home and worked as a tour guide, and did national service as a part of the Russian Corps of the Royal Air Force.
Maschler started his publishing career in 1955, as a production assistant at André Deutsch, followed by a stint at MacGibbon & Kee between 1956 and 1958. It was here that he published his first anthology of essays, Declaration, in 1957. The collection had essays from leading writers of the time.Earning a reprimand for some of his promotional interviews, he subsequently went on to join Allen Lane's Penguin Books as an assistant fiction editor.
He went on to head Jonathan Cape, after the death of its founder. It was here that one of his first assignments was to work with Mary Hemingway on papers that her husband Ernest Hemingway had left behind. These would be published as A Moveable Feast (1964).
As head of Jonathan Cape, Maschler was heavily involved in the creation of the Chatto, Virago, Bodley Head and Cape Group (CVBC), which later dissolved.He discovered and published many writers, including Gabriel García Márquez, Ian McEwan and Bruce Chatwin. One of Maschler's earliest coups was purchasing Joseph Heller's Catch-22 for £250. He published two books, In His Own Write (1964) and A Spaniard in the Works (1965) based on John Lennon's doodles. He also published Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (1981).
Maschler was one of the key figures responsible for creating the Booker Prize in 1969. The award was envisioned as a British Commonwealth version of the French Prix Goncourt.Having seen the success of the French award, and the related sales uplift, Mascher approached Jock Campbell from the sugar trading firm Booker–McConnell to set up an equivalent for British books. P. H. Newby was the first winner of the prize for Something to Answer For , in 1969. The prize was sponsored by the Booker–McConnell group from 1969 to 2001, the Man Group from 2002 to 2019, and subsequently by the charitable foundation Crankstart.
In 1991, he stepped down from his position as the chairman of Jonathan Cape, when the company was sold to Si Newhouse's Random House Publishing. The company was losing money for a few years prior, necessitating the deal. He was diagnosed with manic depression shortly after the deal went through.
His autobiography, Publisher, was published by Picador in 2005.
Maschler was sometimes criticised for his forceful approach to publishing, with a charge that while he was good at identifying commercial best sellers, he had "little interest in books for their own sake".He was considered a galvanising force and criticised for being inhospitable to some of his authors.
He is noted to have played a key role in the career downturn of novelist Barbara Pym. In 1963, after joining Cape, Maschler rejected Pym's seventh novel, An Unsuitable Attachment , on the advice of two readers at the firm. Cape had published all of Pym's previous novels (although before Maschler had joined), and she expressed a belief that she was being unfairly treated, but was told that her novels were no longer attractive to readers.It would be 14 years until Pym had another novel published. The novelist never fully forgave Maschler. When she was rediscovered in 1977, she refused to let Cape publish her new novels. Pym and her sister Hilary invented a weak-tasting dessert, a combination of lime jelly and milk, and called it "Maschler pudding". After Pym's death, Maschler appeared in the 1992 television film Miss Pym's Day Out recounting his decision to reject the novel.
Maschler married his first wife Fay Coventry, who went on to be a restaurant critic for the Evening Standard , in 1970, and had three children. The couple divorced in 1987, and he married his second wife Regina Kulinicz in 1988.He lived and travelled between his houses in London, France and Mexico.
He died on 15 October 2020, at the age of 87.
The Booker Prize, formerly known as the Booker Prize for Fiction (1969–2001) and the Man Booker Prize (2002–2019), is a literary prize awarded each year for the best novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The winner of the Booker Prize receives international publicity which usually leads to a sales boost. When the prize was first created, only novels written by Commonwealth, Irish, and South African citizens were eligible to receive the prize; in 2014 it was widened to any English-language novel — a change that proved controversial. A seven person panel constituted by authors, librarians, literary agents, publishers, and booksellers is appointed by the Booker Prize Foundation.
Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is an Indian-British-American novelist and essayist. His work, combining magical realism with historical fiction, is primarily concerned with the many connections, disruptions, and migrations between Eastern and Western civilizations, with much of his fiction being set on the Indian subcontinent.
Barbara Mary Crampton Pym was an English novelist. In the 1950s she published a series of social comedies, of which the best known are Excellent Women (1952) and A Glass of Blessings (1958). In 1977 her career was revived when the critic Lord David Cecil and the poet Philip Larkin both nominated her as the most under-rated writer of the century. Her novel Quartet in Autumn (1977) was nominated for the Booker Prize that year, and she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Excellent Women is a novel by Barbara Pym, first published in 1952, her second published novel and generally acclaimed as the funniest and most successful of her comedies of manners.
Sir Kazuo Ishiguro is a British novelist, screenwriter, musician, and short-story writer. He was born in Nagasaki and moved to Britain in 1960 with his parents when he was five.
Quartet in Autumn is a novel by British novelist Barbara Pym, first published in 1977. It was highly praised and shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the top literary prize in the UK. This was considered a comeback novel for Pym; she had fallen out of favour as styles changed, and her work had been rejected by publishers for 15 years. This followed her successful record as a novelist during the 1950s and early 1960s. As a novel, it represents a departure from her earlier style of light comedy, as it is the story of four office workers on the verge of retirement.
Some Tame Gazelle is Barbara Pym's first novel, originally published in 1950.
The London Review of Books (LRB) is a British literary magazine published twice monthly that features articles and essays on fiction and non-fiction subjects, which are usually structured as book reviews.
Charles Bruce Chatwin was an English travel writer, novelist and journalist. His first book, In Patagonia (1977), established Chatwin as a travel writer, although he considered himself instead a storyteller, interested in bringing to light unusual tales. He won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel On the Black Hill (1982), while his novel Utz (1988) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2008 The Times ranked Chatwin as number 46 on their list of "50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945."
Jonathan Cape is a London publishing firm founded in 1921 by Herbert Jonathan Cape, who was head of the firm until his death in 1960.
Less Than Angels is a novel by Barbara Pym, first published in 1955.
Akhil Sharma is an Indian-American author and professor of creative writing. His first published novel An Obedient Father won the 2001 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. His second, Family Life, won the 2015 Folio Prize and 2016 International Dublin Literary Award.
An Unsuitable Attachment is a novel by Barbara Pym, written in 1963 and published posthumously in 1982.
Martin Waddell is a writer of children's books from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He may be known best for his picture book texts featuring anthropomorphic animals, especially the Little Bear series illustrated by Barbara Firth.
The Sweet Dove Died is a novel by Barbara Pym, first published in 1978. The title is a quotation from a poem, "I Had a Dove", by John Keats.
Jane and Prudence is the third novel by Barbara Pym, first published in 1953.
Declaration is a 1957 anthology of essays by British writers. It was edited by Tom Maschler and published by MacGibbon & Kee. It features short essays by Doris Lessing, Colin Wilson, John Osborne, John Wain, Kenneth Tynan, Bill Hopkins, Lindsay Anderson and Stuart Holroyd. The book is closely associated with the angry young men movement, and the essays are presented as "credos" or manifesto of the writers.
Quichotte is a 2019 novel by Salman Rushdie. It is his fourteenth novel, published on 29 August 2019 by Jonathan Cape in the United Kingdom and Penguin Books India in India. It was published in the United States on 3 September 2019 by Random House. Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes' classic novel Don Quixote, Quichotte is a metafiction that tells the story of an addled Indian American man who travels across America in pursuit of a celebrity television host with whom he has become obsessed.
A Very Private Eye is a 1984 publication of writings by the English novelist Barbara Pym, subtitled An Autobiography in Diaries and Letters. Released after Pym's death, the volume was edited by Pym's sister Hilary and her literary executor Hazel Holt.