An Editor's Life

Diana Athill

Published: 6 October 2011
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 256 pages
ISBN: 9781847084279


For nearly 50 years, Diana Athill edited (and nursed and coerced and coaxed) some of the most celebrated writers in the English language. In a prose style of inimitable wit and rare candour, she recounts tales from a long life in publishing, including her reflections on editing writers such as V. S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Gitta Sereny and Brian Moore. She also provides an account of her own writing career, which includes the two critically acclaimed works, Instead of a Letter and After a Funeral.

About the author

Image of Diana Athill

Diana Athill was born in 1917. She helped André Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name and worked as an editor for Deutsch for four decades. Athill's distinguished career as an editor is the subject of her acclaimed memoir Stet, which is also published by Granta Books, as are several further volumes of memoirs, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe, Somewhere Towards the End, and Alive, Alive Oh!, the travelogue A Florence Diary, a novel, Don't Look at Me Like That, and a collection of letters, Instead of a Book. In January 2009, she won the Costa Biography Award for Somewhere Towards the End, and was presented with an OBE. She lives in London. More about the author


Stet is unlike any other memoir I know, and a joy to read from start to finish’



‘A narrative in which the passing literary stars take second place to an extraordinary guiding intelligence - sceptical, amused, humane’

‘Athill has written a short book long on charm...She tells her own story lightly and delightfully’

‘Self-deprecating, clear-sighted and fun-loving, Athill comes through these pages as a deeply appealing personality. Her own writing style is classically elegant, making Stet a real gem’

‘She is always eloquent, often very funny, a natural writer’

‘This is a memoir of a life in publishing, and is written with a lovely and elegant lucidity’

‘To write well about the profession requires candour, wisdom, clarity, passion, a sense of proportion and above all a sense of humour...Fortunately Diana Athill has them in abundance’

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