About Marion & Arthur Boyars

In February 1999 with the death of Marion Boyars, independent publishing lost one of its staunchest and most enduring exponents. She worked with her second husband, the poet and musicologist Arthur Boyars, through a thirty-year career. Beginning in the heady artistic turbulence of the early 1960s, Marion & Arthur constantly sought out and championed the new, the unusual and the unexpected. The books published under the Marion Boyars imprint were to challenge preconceptions of literature. As a consequence, maverick titles such as Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr and Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye have become established modern classics which continue to enjoy widespread diffusion with mass-market paperback editions. As for individual authors, Michael Ondaatje, first published by Marion back in 1978, went on to win the Booker Prize and attain international recognition for his fiction and poetry. Elias Canetti, Eugenio Montale and Kenzaburo Oe have all added their names to the list of Nobel Prize winners which she had originally established in collaboration with her former publishing partner, John Calder.

Even today, authors whose work first appeared in the English-speaking world under the Marion Boyars imprint, such as Raymond Radiguet, Witold Gombrowicz and Julio Cortázar, are beginning to receive the serious attention they deserve.

The publishing house which she founded and which still bears her name remains committed to what attracted her to the world of literature and ideas in the first place: the new, the unusual and the unexpected. For the past eleven years, it has been run by their younger daughter, Catheryn Kilgarriff.Some of the key copyrights have now transferred to Penguin. However, the majority of the list remains under the independent imprint Marion Boyars.