Black Spring Press publisher Hastings dies aged 51

Black Spring Press publisher Hastings dies aged 51

Robert Hastings, publisher at independent Black Spring Press, has died aged 51 following an illness.

Hastings died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday 30th November. He had been diagnosed with a rare aggressive cancer, angiosarcoma, in January this year and "fought very bravely", said his wife Claire Packman.

He founded Black Spring Press in 1985 to "breathe new life into neglected classics". The press brought the works of Julian Mclaren-Ross and Patrick Hamilton back into public consciousness, and also produced work by Nick Cave, Anaïs Nin, Charles Baudelaire, Kyril Bonfiglioli, Carolyn Cassady and Leonard Cohen, among others.

The first Black Spring publication was a reprint of Nin's D.H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study, which on its first publication in 1932 had been only the second study of Lawrence's work to appear.

Marc Glendening, a friend of Hastings, said: "Robert was one of the most charming, well-informed and humorous individuals one could ever hope to encounter. He combined having great natural presence with a gentle, modest demeanour. Highly generous in spirit, it was often difficult to persuade him to take money for Black Spring books. It was an honour and pleasure to have known him, albeit only for an all too brief period. Our sincere condolences and best wishes for the future are with [his wife and children]."

Hastings is survived by his wife, Claire, and three children, Alice, Sam and Angus.