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Allen & Unwin

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Allen & Unwin
Founded1914 (United Kingdom)
1976 (Australian arm)
FounderStanley Unwin
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationCrows Nest, New South Wales, Australia
DistributionUnited Book Distributors (Australia)
Atlantic Books (UK adult)
Murdoch Books (UK children's)
Trafalgar Square Publishing (North America, China)
APD Singapore (Singapore)
Wild Dog Press (South Africa)[1]
Publication typesBooks
ImprintsArena, Crows Nest, House of Books, Inspired Living, Murdoch Books, Pier 9
Official websitewww.allenandunwin.com Edit this at Wikidata

George Allen & Unwin was a British publishing company formed in 1911 when Sir Stanley Unwin purchased a controlling interest in George Allen & Co. It went on to become one of the leading publishers of the twentieth century and to establish an Australian subsidiary in 1976. In 1990 Allen & Unwin was sold to HarperCollins, and the Australian branch was the subject of a management buy-out.

George Allen & Unwin in the UK[edit]

George Allen & Sons was established in 1871 by George Allen, with the backing of John Ruskin,[2] becoming George Allen & Co. Ltd. in 1911 when it merged with Swan Sonnenschein and then George Allen & Unwin in 4 August 1914 as a result of Stanley Unwin's purchase of a controlling interest.[3] Frank Arthur Mumby and Frances Helena Swan Stallybrass,[4] Unwin's son Rayner S. Unwin and his nephew Philip helped him to run the company, which published works by Bertrand Russell, Arthur Waley, Roald Dahl, Lancelot Hogben and Thor Heyerdahl. It became well known as J. R. R. Tolkien's publisher some time after publishing the popular children's fantasy novel The Hobbit in 1937, and its high fantasy sequel The Lord of the Rings novel in 1954–1955. Book series published by the firm in this period include the Muirhead Library of Philosophy and Unwin Books, a paperback imprint.[5]

Rayner Unwin retired at the end of 1985, and the firm was amalgamated in 1986 with Bell & Hyman to form Unwin Hyman Ltd., with Robin Hyman as chief executive. From this time "Allen & Unwin" continued only as the name of the Australian subsidiary of Unwin Hyman. Rayner Unwin returned for a while as part-time chairman of Unwin Hyman, retiring again at the end of 1988. It was over the objections of Rayner Unwin, the largest shareholder, that in 1990 Hyman sold the firm to HarperCollins.[6][7] HarperCollins has since sold Unwin Hyman's academic book list to Routledge.

Allen & Unwin in Australia[edit]

Allen & Unwin Australia Pty Ltd became independent in July 1990 by means of a management buy-out after the UK firm was bought by HarperCollins. Now known simply as "Allen & Unwin", the company went on to become the most successful "independent" publisher in Australia. It currently publishes up to 250 new titles a year. Among the many authors published by Allen & Unwin are Alex Miller, Christos Tsiolkas, Garth Nix, Jodi Picoult, Kate Morton, Michael Connelly, Thomas Keneally, Peter Corris, Paul Keating, Stephanie Dowrick, and Christopher Hitchens. Allen & Unwin is also co-sponsor and publisher of the annual Australian/Vogel Literary Award.

In 2017, Allen & Unwin refused to publish the book Silent Invasion due to legal concerns that they "would be targeted by Beijing and its proxies in Australia."[8][9]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Rights & international sales
  2. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). "Allen, George" . Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). Vol. 12. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  3. ^ George Allen and Unwin, Austlit. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  4. ^ From Swan Sonnenschein to George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London: Allen & Unwin, 1955, pp. 7–8.
  5. ^ Unwin Books (George Allen & Unwin) – Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  6. ^ Smith, Anthony (27 November 2000). "Rayner Unwin". London: Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  7. ^ FOB Search Results 191 – 200 of 409
  8. ^ Welch, Dylan (22 February 2018). "Chinese agents 'infiltrating church groups to undermine Australia's sovereignty'". ABC News. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Australian Book on China's 'Silent Invasion' Withdrawn At Last Minute Amid Legal Threats". Radio Free Asia. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Frank Arthur Mumby and Frances Helena Swan Stallybrass, From Swan Sonnenschein to George Allen & Unwin Ltd. London: Allen & Unwin, 1955. With an introduction by Dr. John Murray.
  • Philip Unwin, The Publishing Unwins (London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1972)
  • Rayner Unwin, George Allen and Unwin: A Remembrancer (Ludlow: Merlin Unwin, 1999)
  • Stanley Unwin, The Truth About a Publisher (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1960)

External links[edit]