Biteback is to publish the memoirs of Jeremy Robson, whose publishing career spans five decades.
The founder of Robson Books, who has also worked for Quarto and later for Biteback for leaving to work on his own writing in 2016, Robson’s memoir will look back at his double-pronged career as both a publisher and a poet.
During his time he has driven Muhammad Ali around Britain, coped with Michael Winner, worked in the desert with David Ben-Gurion and laughed with Maureen Lipman and Alan Coren, while as a poet he has undertaken a reading tour with Ted Hughes, performed at the Royal Festival Hall for a historic poetry and jazz concert and enjoyed friendships with poets and writers such as Dannie Abse, Alan Sillitoe, Vernon Scannell, Laurie Lee, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Elie Wiesel and Frederic Raphael.
He founded Robson Press in 1974, ran his own imprint J R Books at Quarto and then joined Biteback in 2011, before leaving in 2016 to concentrate on his own writing.
Biteback signed rights to the memoir from Vivienne Schuster of Curtis Brown, set for publication in September.
Biteback publisher Iain Dale said: “I’m delighted to be publishing the life story of my friend and former colleague Jeremy Robson. Apart from enticing anecdotes culled from a fifty-year publishing career, his engrossing book gives a fascinating inside view of the changing publishing world.”
Caroline Michel, chief executive of PFD, said she “loved” Robson’s “anecdotes and his passion for his authors and books. I cannot wait to read his memoirs,” she said.
Jonathan Lloyd, chairman of Curtis Brown, meanwhile, added: “He can smell a potential bestseller a mile away. He then exerts that smooth charm coupled with a real expression of poverty to acquire the rights from you for slightly less than he has already sold the serial rights. But the author loves him, as do I.”