Faber and Faber
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Headquarters location||London, England|
|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. Poet T. S. Eliot was once a Faber editor.
In 2006 the company was named the KPMG 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; they founded Faber and Gwyer 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 Faber as a literary adviser; 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, Faber and Faber published its first commercial success, Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man. The book was at first published anonymously; the author's name, Siegfried Sassoon, was added to the title page for the second impression. Over the next six months, it was reprinted eight times.
Role in publishing
Poetry was the core of 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 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 in Paris and London) and Animal Farm.
During the Second World War, paper shortages meant profits were large, but almost all went to taxes, and subsequent years were difficult. After the war, a new generation joined Faber, including 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 subsequent decades, 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. 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 of the band Pulp, would be joining as editor-at-large, an appointment similar to one held 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. Works republished in the imprint have included items from the Mass-Observation archives, and works by 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 release e-books.
Faber's American arm was sold in 1998 to Farrar, Straus and Giroux ("FSG"), where it remained as an imprint focused on arts, entertainment, media, and popular culture. In February 2015, Faber announced the end of its partnership with FSG.
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. 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 2013, in partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, Faber Digital launched Drama Online, a subscription-based digital content platform for libraries, educators, students, and researchers.
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.
Nobel Laureate authors published by Faber
- 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
- "Awards & Prizes". Faber & Faber. Faber & Faber. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
- 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.
- Farrington, Joshua. "Faber ends FSG partnership". The Bookseller. The Bookseller. Retrieved 19 July 2015.