Anthony Blond

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Anthony Bernard Blond (20 March 1928 – 27 February 2008) was a British publisher and author. Blond was involved with launching various book publishing initiatives over the course of three decades.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Sale, Cheshire, Blond was the elder son of Major Neville Blond CMG, OBE, who was a cousin of Harold Laski.[1] His mother was from a Manchester Sephardic Jewish family. His parents divorced when Blond was a child and Blond was educated at Eton, where he was bullied.[1] He briefly served National Service in the Army, but growing pacifism soon led to him registering as a conscientious objector. Having gained a History exhibition (scholarship) to New College, Oxford,[2] he lost it by indulging too much in the distractions of an undergraduate life: "the joys of drink, people, parties, fancy waistcoats, foreign travel and falling in love – mostly with young men."[1]

After Oxford, he briefly worked for a literary agent Raymond Savage,[3] but set up his own firm in 1952, Anthony Blond (London) Ltd, in partnership with the future novelist Isabel Colegate[2] He briefly joined Allan Wingate, but that publisher folded in 1958, and with his own £5,000 set up a new firm.[4]

Reported to have given the first chance to some 70 writers, Blond was particularly close to the novelist Simon Raven.[1] Blond set up various publishing firms over the years, including Blond Educational in 1962, which he sold in 1969 to CBS, and he went into partnership with Desmond Briggs as Blond & Briggs in 1960, an informal arrangement that lasted until 1979 when Briggs retired[4] and Harlech Television bought the company in 1979, retaining Blond as an advisor. In a management buyout Blond regained control after two years, and established his last partnership, Blond, Muller and White. Century Hutchinson absorbed this firm in 1987.

An early director and publisher of Private Eye, his friendship with James Goldsmith (and other members of the Clermont Club circle) survived Goldsmith's numerous writs to the magazine in the mid-1970s.

In 1955 Blond married Charlotte, the daughter of John Strachey;[5] the marriage lasted until 1960, and Charlotte eventually married the political journalist Peter Jenkins. After a long relationship with Andrew McCall, Blond, who was bisexual,[6] married Laura Hesketh in 1981. Blond also had a son, Aaron, by the author Cressida Lindsay.

Blond was a Labour Party candidate in Chester at the 1964 general election and was also on the executive of the National Council for Civil Liberties.[4] His autobiography, Jew Made in England, was published in 2004.[6]

Anthony Blond died in hospital in Limoges, France, near the home he had shared with his wife for 25 years. Blond was described in Michael Barber's Guardian obituary as "the last of the eponymous Jewish publishers whose chutzpah made publishing hum in the days before the conglomerates",[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Obituary: Anthony Blond, The Daily Telegraph, 1 March 2008.
  2. ^ a b Isabel Colegate "Anthony Blond: Bold and imaginative publisher with an infectious love of life" The Independent, 3 March 2008.
  3. ^ Anthony Blond, Jew Made In England, London: Timewell Press, 2004, p. 105.
  4. ^ a b c d Michael Barber "Obituary: Anthony Blond – A maverick publisher, he took a rollercoaster ride through the late 20th century", The Guardian, 1 March 2008.
  5. ^ Obituary, The Times, 1 March 2008
  6. ^ a b Blond, Anthony (2004), Jew Made in England, Timewell Press, ISBN 1-85725-200-4