Guest, John (publisher)

Reference: MS 4624Date: c. 1949-1991Extent: c. 500 items

John Guest was born in 1911 in Warrington, Cheshire, and was educated at Fettes, Edinburgh, and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was first employed in the publishing industry as a proofreader and subsequently junior editor for Collins, before serving in an artillery regiment during the war.

In 1949 he was appointed literary advisor to the publishing firm Longmans, with a brief to rebuild their general trade list, at which he was very successful. He subsequently held the same position at Penguin Books, after the merger with Longmans in 1972, where he remained until his retirement. A Fellow of the Royal Literary Society, he was the author of Broken Images (1949), a record of his wartime experiences, and also compiled the first anthology of the work of his friend, the poet Sir John Betjeman, entitled The Best of Betjeman (1978). He died in August 1997.

The collection includes 500 personal and business letters from over 100 literary figures. They include letters from Sir John Betjeman, Christopher Fry, Mary Renault and many more.

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