Faber and Faber
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Distribution||The Book Service (UK)|
Faber and Faber Limited, often abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in the United Kingdom. Faber has published some of the most well known literature in the English language, including William Golding's Lord of the Flies — which had previously been rejected and ignored by many publishers. Faber also boasts major literary figures among its former editors, like T. S. Eliot, the major twentieth-century poet.
In 2006 the company was named Publisher of the Year.
Faber and Faber began as a firm in 1929, but its roots go back to the Scientific Press, owned by Sir Maurice and Lady Gwyer. The Scientific Press derived much of its income from the weekly magazine The Nursing Mirror. The Gwyers' desire to expand into trade publishing led them to Geoffrey Faber, a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and Faber and Gwyer was founded in 1925. After four years, The Nursing Mirror was sold and Geoffrey Faber and the Gwyers agreed to go their separate ways. Faber selected the company name of Faber and Faber, although there was no other Faber involved.
T. S. Eliot, who had been suggested to Faber by Charles Whibley, had left Lloyds Bank in London to join him as a literary adviser and in the first season the firm issued his Poems 1909–1925. In addition, the catalogues from the early years included books by Ezra Pound, Jean Cocteau, Herbert Read, Max Eastman, George Rylands, John Dover Wilson, Geoffrey Keynes, Forrest Reid, Charles Williams, and Vita Sackville-West. In 1928 Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man appeared, and over the next six months it was reprinted eight times. First published anonymously, the author's name, Siegfried Sassoon, was added to the title page for the second impression. The book became Faber's first commercial success.
Role in publishing
Poetry was the prime element in the Faber list and under T. S. Eliot's aegis. W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Louis MacNeice joined Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wyndham Lewis, John Gould Fletcher, Roy Campbell, James Joyce and Walter de la Mare.
Under Geoffrey Faber's chairmanship the board in 1929 included Eliot, Richard de la Mare, Charles Stewart and Frank Morley. This young and intelligent team built up a comprehensive and profitable catalogue, and the dust jackets and cover designs of the firm's art director Berthold Wolpe gave the books a distinctive yet unified appearance. Faber published biographies, memoirs, fiction, poetry, political and religious essays, art and architecture monographs, children's books, and launched a pioneering ecology list. It also published Eliot's literary review, The Criterion. Eliot rejected two books by George Orwell, A Scullions Tale (the first version of Down and Out) and Animal Farm.
In the Second World War, paper shortages meant profits were large, but almost all went in taxes and subsequent years were difficult. However, with recovery a new generation joined Faber, bringing in writers such as William Golding, Lawrence Durrell, Robert Lowell, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, W. S. Graham, Philip Larkin, P. D. James, Tom Stoppard and John Osborne. These last two, first published in the 1960s, represented the firm's growing commitment to contemporary drama, which includes plays by three Nobel Laureates – Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett and T. S. Eliot. In the decades that have followed many other dramatists have found their home at Faber, including Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Bennett, Brian Friel, Tony Harrison, David Hare, Frank McGuinness and Timberlake Wertenbaker.
Faber and Faber has continued to prosper in recent years. Established names have been joined by new voices including Kazuo Ishiguro, Peter Carey, Orhan Pamuk and Barbara Kingsolver, and its arts lists continue to break new talent in poetry, drama, film and music. Having published the theatrical works of Samuel Beckett for many years, the company acquired the rights to the remainder of his oeuvre from the publishing house of John Calder in 2007. Faber announced in October 2011 that Jarvis Cocker, lead singer with Pulp would be joining as editor-at-large, an appointment echoing a similar role taken up by Pete Townshend of The Who in the 1980s.
In 2008 the imprint Faber Finds was set up to make copyrighted out-of-print books available again, using print-on-demand technology. Authors republished in the imprint have included works of the Mass-Observation archives, John Betjeman, Angus Wilson, A. J. P. Taylor, H. G. Wells, Joyce Cary, Nina Bawden, Jean Genet, P. H. Newby, Louis MacNeice, John Carey, F. R. Leavis, Jacob Bronowski, Jan Morris and Brian Aldiss. In 2009 Faber Finds began to roll out an e-book programme.
Faber's American arm was sold in 1998 to Farrar, Straus and Giroux, where it remains an active imprint focusing on arts, entertainment, media, and popular culture.
In June 2012, to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Faber launched a website – Sixty Years in Sixty Poems. Commissioned for The Space – the new digital arts platform developed by the Arts Council in partnership with the BBC – Sixty Years in Sixty Poems takes the poems from Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy's anthology, Jubilee Lines, and interprets them using actors' recordings, sound-based generative design and archive film footage.
The Faber Academy
In 2008, Faber launched The Faber Academy, a creative writing business offering courses for aspiring writers. Courses include "The Art of Publication", "Writing Fiction" and "Becoming a Poet". At times, courses are tutored by famous writers, such as Mike Figgis, Jeanette Winterson and Tobias Hill. Notable students have included S. J. Watson.
Faber Digital was launched in 2009, with a specific remit to innovate in publishing. It has published a number of book-related apps for the iPhone and the iPad, including Malcolm Tucker: The Missing Phone (which was nominated for a BAFTA award), QI: Quite Interesting, Harry Hill's Joke Book, and The Waste Land for iPad app. The Waste Land for iPad app was Faber's second collaboration with Touch Press, following the Solar System for iPad, which won the Futurebook Award for Digital innovation at the Book Industry Awards in 2011. In 2012, in partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, Faber Digital will launch Drama Online, creating a digital content platform for libraries, educators, students and researchers to be sold via subscription and perpetual access to academic institutions.
Reacting to the shift in the publishing industry to a greater focus on digital, and to offering services to both publishers and authors, Faber (in partnership with the Perseus Books Group in the US) launched The Faber Factory in 2011, a digitisation service.
The firm's original location was its Georgian offices at 24 Russell Square, in Bloomsbury, London. Faber later moved to 3 Queen Square, London, and on 19 January 2009 the firm moved to Bloomsbury House, 74–77 Great Russell Street, London.
- 1948 T. S. Eliot
- 1960 Saint-John Perse
- 1969 Samuel Beckett
- 1980 Czesław Miłosz
- 1983 William Golding
- 1992 Derek Walcott
- 1995 Seamus Heaney
- 1996 Wisława Szymborska
- 1999 Günter Grass
- 2005 Harold Pinter
- 2006 Orhan Pamuk
- 2010 Mario Vargas Llosa
- Kojecky, Roger (1972). T. S. Eliot's Social Criticism. Faber & Faber. p. 55. ISBN 0571096921.
- James Pardey, 'Wolpe, Albertus and Faber's Classic Covers.' In: Creative Review, December 2011.
- Dammann, Guy (2 May 2008). "Faber Launches Print-on-Demand Classics". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
- Page, Stephen (31 May 2008). "Faber Finds: Your Own Private Printing Press". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
- Neilan, Catherine (30 June 2009). "Faber Finds branches into e-books for anniversary". TheBookseller.com. Retrieved 4 March 2010.