Faber c.e.o. Stephen Page paid tribute to the "energy, brilliance and power" of former Faber m.d. and chairman Matthew Evans at the publisher's annual summer party last night (7th July).
Authors including Edna O'Brien, Kazuo Ishiguro, Louise Doughty and Philip Ardagh, and agents including Antony Topping, Caroline Dawnay and David Godwin joined Faber staffers at the party, held in Montague Street Garden WC1. The traditional event was resumed this summer after a year's hiatus.
Page broke with tradition to make a speech on the night, as a result of the recent news of Evans' death. He told partygoers the former m.d. had made "an incalculable contribution to Faber", and that tributes to him had been pouring in from all over the world. Page described Evans as "an extraordinary source of energy, brilliance and power", saying: "He made Faber the company it is, we live in the company he created; the ethics of it, the chutzpah of it. Matthew loved parties and he loved this party."
In a Guardian obituary, former Faber editor-in-chief Robert McCrum described Evans as a "great publisher", saying: "He could be as obsessed by the guest list for the Faber summer party - 'We must invite more actresses, McCrum' - as with the typography for a new volume of Ted Hughes' poetry."
Meanwhile, one-time Faber sales and marketing director Desmond Clarke was also among those paying tribute to Evans, commenting: "It was enormously exciting working with Matthew during that renaissance period in Faber's history in the '80s. He had brought to Faber a hugely talented group of young publishers who built a remarkable stable of authors and poets. And as E J Craddock wrote in his publishing column in the The Times at that time, 'Faber and Faber is, or are, fun'.
"He could be very mischievous, often enjoying winding up the book trade's 'establishment' but he was always devoted to his authors and poets...Librarians will remember him for driving most successfully the implementation of the People's Network."
Stephen Page and Louise Doughty