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John Calder Calls It A Day

The Scotsman dubs John Calder the “enfant terrible of Scottish publishing” for good reason, seeing as he published some of the most avant-garde writers in literary history, scandalized the establishment and escaped brushes with the law. But now, at the age of 80, Calder is retiring – and making available his prodigious backlist to the highest bidders. Calder said last week: “I have been at it for 58 years and I can’t keep going forever. Like the family dog, I want to see it go to a good home. The [Samuel] Beckett copyrights will go into other hands.”

He has published some of the best of contemporary British and international dramatists including Steven Berkoff, Marguerite Duras, Eugene Ionesco, Georg Kaiser, David Mercer, Robert Pinget and Heathcote Williams, as well as works by novelists Henry Miller and William Burroughs. He also speaks of modern publishing with some contempt: “When I was young, publishing companies were run by people with editorial knowledge and experience, who could read things and make up their minds on what was good or otherwise. But now, it’s the accountants and marketing people who make the decisions, caring for nothing but money.”

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