Tom Maschler sells rare books

News - Bookselling Friday, 02 November 2018

Collection from his personal library for sale includes signed copy of Thomas Pynchon's V valued at £35,000; sale handled by Heywood Hill

Tom Maschler, arguably the leading post-war British publisher, is selling a selection of books from his personal collection via Mayfair bookseller Heywood Hill.

The 150 books for sale range in price from £95 for Anita Brookner’s Fraud up to £35,000 for a very rare signed UK first edition of Thomas Pynchon’s V.

Andrew McGeachin, head of Rare Books at Heywood Hill, said: "Tom Maschler was the most fearless and fearsome British publisher of his generation, responsible for creating the Booker Prize, and publishing the work of dozens of the finest writers from the late 1950s to the early 1990s. Our catalogue reads like a Who’s Who of literature from that period and the opportunity to own one of the books handled by Tom will delight readers and collectors alike."

Dan Franklin, associate publisher at Jonathan Cape, said: "For four decades Tom Maschler was the most important and most talked-about figure in British publishing. A brilliant talent-spotter, he brought to Jonathan Cape an extraordinary range of literary talent – from Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Philip Roth to Martin Amis to Thomas Pynchon to Tom Wolfe to Ian McEwan – and transformed it into the most exciting publisher in London.

"Fifteen of his authors won the Nobel Prize for Literature and he launched the careers of John Fowles, Edna O’Brien, Clive James and Bruce Chatwin. He persuaded Desmond Morris, then working at London Zoo, to write The Naked Ape and his publishing of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 has become the stuff of legend. Maschler was also an exceptional children’s publisher, especially of illustrated books. He was the person who introduced Roald Dahl to Quentin Blake. In 1967 Tom Maschler conceived the idea of the Booker Prize and it was launched in 1968.

"Maschler not only had extraordinary taste, but he was a brilliant salesman, promoting his authors tirelessly, unafraid to make enemies in the process. There had been no one like him and there never will be again." Maschler was 85 this summer.

McGeachin added: "We are delighted to relaunch Heywood Hill Rare Books with the Tom Maschler collection. The initial selection of books from his library on offer here reflects a snap-shot of some of the authors that Tom nurtured so successfully and with such dynamism at Cape, many of whom also became close friends. One such friend, Quentin Blake, has kindly drawn a bookplate for Tom that will be included with every purchase from the forthcoming sale as proof of provenance. The books on offer here range from a proof copy annotated by Ian Fleming, to charming inscribed copies from the likes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Ian McEwan."

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