Tony Godwin - 1973


Tony Godwin (b.17 Dec 1919 – 15 Mar1976) was an influential British publisher of the 1960s/1970s. Born in Ledbury, Herefordshire he founded the avant-garde 'Better Books' shop in Charing Cross Road, London in 1946. In 1964 on a trip to San Francisco where he met American poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti with whom he made arrangements to exchange hip American 'Beats' with English salesmen who needed some education in an effort to 'bohemianize' his store back home. This approach caught on leading to a succession of influential store managers including Bill Butler, Bob Cobbing and Barry Miles who turned Better Books into an underground hotspot.

During this time Godwin ascended the ranks at Penguin books throughout the 1960s from a senior editorial group to chief editor. With the same aim to shake things up in British attitudes to literature and publishing, Godwin hired Italian graphic designer Germano Facetti responsible for the black 'Penguins Classics' cover designs. Taking this a step further, Godwin hired artist Alan Aldridge to be the art director for Penguin in 1965 leading to more radical book cover designs. After a high-risk publication of acclaimed French cartoonist Siné's periodical 'Massacre.' Godwin was fired by Penguin's founder Allen Lane in 1967.

By 1972 Godwin had crossed the Atlantic to start his own company. During this time he published many high-profile writers such as Edna O'Brien and Len Deighton. After a sudden unexpected death due to an asthma attack in New York in 1976, the Tony Godwin Memorial Trust was later established to acknowledge his contribution to the publishing industry.

Duffy photographed Tony Godwin for The Sunday Times Magazine published on the 23rd September 1973 for an article titled 'Booking Out.'

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