Tony Godwin

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Anthony James Wylie "Tony" Godwin (c.1920 - 1976) was an influential British publisher of the 1960s/1970s. His contribution to the publishing industry is recognized in the form of the Tony Godwin Memorial Trust.

He started the avant-garde bookshop Better Books in Charing Cross Road, where author Barry Miles worked. [1] He also ran Bumpus Books and the City Bookshop in London.

In May 1960, Godwin was recruited to join the senior editorial group at Penguin Books and rose to Chief Editor. He sought to update editorial and design policies. With this aim in mind, he hired Germano Facetti in January 1961, who replaced the original Penguin cover design system with the grid layout. He also brought in another designer Alan Aldridge who pushed for a more radical transformation.[2] Godwin established the Penguin Modern Classics subseries in 1961 and The English Library series in 1965.[3]

In 1967 Godwin published Penguin's edition of acclaimed French cartoonist Siné's Massacre was published. It contained anti-clerical cartoons and Foyles refused to stock the book. A row over the book led to Godwin being fired by Penguin's founder, Allen Lane.[4]

Godwin went on to become managing director of publisher Weidenfield and Nicoloson, and in 1972 crossed the Atlantic to start his own imprint under the umbrella of American publisher Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch. Godwin published many high-profile writers such as Edna O'Brien and Len Deighton.[5]


In 1961, Godwin married his second wife, Fay Godwin, who became a successful landscape photographer after he left her in 1969. They had two sons Nicholas and Jeremy. Nicholas went on to become a documentary maker.


Godwin died suddenly in New York City in 1976 from an asthma attack, aged 56. Novelist John Berger said of Godwin, "[N]ow that he is dead I feel like an orphan."[6]