Matthew Evans, former managing director of Faber & Faber, has died aged 74.
He died on Wednesday morning (6th July) after a long illness, literary agent Caroline Michel has said.
“He was a glorious man and the love of my life,” Michel, who married Evans in 1991, told The Guardian.
Evans initially worked as a bookseller before joining Faber at the age of 23 in 1964. At the age of 30, he was appointed managing director of the publisher and after the retirement of Charles Monteith, he became chairman of the company in 1980.
Stephen Page, current Faber chief executive, said: “[Matthew] was one of the most singular and important publishing leaders of his generation. Passionate, energetic and articulate, his contribution to Faber is incalculable. From the moment he took charge of the company, he launched a new publishing era creating an extraordinary community of some of the most important writers in world literature. He was brilliant at spotting talent for the company and surrounding himself with exceptional colleagues.”
Page added: “Every day in the company, we feel the great benefit of all that he did. His loss will be deeply felt by all the staff both past and present, and especially by the many authors he championed during nearly 40 years with the company. All our thoughts are with his close friends and family”.
Carol Hughes, widow of the late Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, also paid tribute to Evans. "Matthew's death after a long illness is a huge loss to all who know and love him", Hughes said. "Ted and I always deeply valued Matthew's friendship and kindness, and he has long been a champion of Ted's work and his legacy. Indeed, Matthew was instrumental in persuading Westminster Abbey to honour Ted with a memorial in Poet's Corner in 2011."
"Since Ted's death, Matthew has remained an important influence, professionally and personally, offering good advice and unconditional support through what have occasionally been difficult times. He was a loyal friend and counsellor, and I will miss him greatly," she said.
Evans co-founded the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award with journalist Cathy Galvin in 2009.
Andrew Holgate, literary editor at the Sunday Times told The Bookseller that the award was "essentially [Evans'] prize" and was "one of his biggest legacies".
Holgate said: "Matthew was the non-executive chair, and was really involved with the prize and really passionate about it. He brought in great judges and was very fair in chairing. He was determined to make sure that the judging was generous and friendly. Right until the end he was very taken with the award and wanted to ensure its future. I worked with him for about six or seven years and he was a thoroughly impressive figure; it’s very very sad.”
He was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1998. He became Baron Evans of Temple Guiting in 2000.