Peter Owen (1927–2016) started his company, aged twenty-four, six years after the Second World War.

He ran the business from home, with a typewriter as his only equipment. Soon, however, the company started to flourish, enabling him to employ some staff – his first editor was Muriel Spark. He was able to bring some of the very best international literature to what was a very insular British market.

In the decades since then, although the industry has changed beyond recognition, Peter Owen Publishers continues the tradition of producing new and interesting writing. The company has published seven Nobel Prize winners, including Hermann Hesse, Octavio Paz and Isaac Bashevis Singer, and boasts a backlist that includes some of the most talented and important writers from all over the world.

Peter Owen sadly died in May 2016, but his legacy lives on in the publishing house that carries his name and his commitment to publishing talented and exciting writers.

‘Never has an investment of £900 produced such vast riches.’
— J.G. Ballard

‘I have admired Peter Owen and his lone stand for years. He has published books that otherwise would not have been published. We owe a great debt to him and the few like him.’
— Doris Lessing

‘It is delightful and refreshing to find Peter Owen almost as I remember him four decades ago, still one of the few remaining beacons of independence. Long may he and his house flourish.’
— Christopher Foyle, Foyle’s Bookshop

‘A maverick who seems to break all the rules but might, I suspect, simply be publishing books the way they used to be published before the big money arrived and will be published again when the big money has gone.’
— Dan Franklin, Daily Telegraph

‘Of all the publishing men in my life Peter Owen has been the most constant, the most predictably unpredictable, the most infuriating, the one to whom I always come back.’
— Margaret Crosland

‘Mad of course, but then he is one of life’s sweeter mysteries.’
—  Anne Valery

‘A publishing impresario for whom books are global . . . We owe him the explosions not only of the only Catholic Japanese novelist, Shusaku Endo, but of Jane Bowles, James Purdy, Americans of shock genius and a host of translated Europeans, from Hermann Hesse to Chagall and Colette.’
— Mail on Sunday

Assortimento di libri

TITLES

THE REDEMPTION OF ELSDON BIRD

Genre:

Literary & General

Publisher:

Peter Owen

Rights avail:

Brazilian, Italian

Shortlisted for the Sunday Express Book of the Year 1987 Award.

Elsdon Bird is the affectionate, imaginative son of bible thumping Christian parents whose sanctimoniousness allows no joy. Neglected and brutalized and without friends, Elsdon is driven more and more into himself. However Elsdon is very resilient, and despite disaster, he wins through in the end.

A BRIGHT GREEN FIELD - AND OTHER STORIES

Genre:

Literary & General

Publisher:

Peter Owen

Rights avail:

Brazilian, Italian

Admirers of Kavan's work will not be disappointed. The title story is allegorical writing at its best and bears the stamp of the author's compulsive power. Other stories show her grasp of the conflict between dream and reality, and an acute awareness of human dignity constantly threatened by insensitive unkindness.

EAGLE'S NEST

Genre:

Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Publisher:

Peter Owen

Rights avail:

Brazilian, Italian

In this powerful fantasy, Kavan describes the life of an individual who cannot face the harsh impact of modern civilization. Exploring the shifting territory between the concrete world and the world of dreams, she questions both the ultimate reality of personal identity and of existence itself.

HIDDEN FACES

Genre:

Literary & General

Publisher:

Peter Owen

Rights avail:

Brazilian

Sold: Italian

Dali's only novel
‘As far back as 1922 the great poet Garcia Lorca had predicted that I was destined for a literary career and had suggested that my future lie precisely in the “pure novel”.’

GOOSE OF HERMOGENES

Genre:

Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Publisher:

Peter Owen

Rights avail:

Brazilian, Italian

A young nameless woman must escape her uncle’s island when his sinister attentions fall upon an heirloom – a priceless jewel in her possession – that may be useful in his relentless attempts to conquer death by black magic.
'Goose of Hermogenes' is a Gothic, erotic and feminist novella and a classic of esoteric fiction.
The new hardback edition features Colquhoun's water-colour illustrations for the novel and contains a previously missing chapter.

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