Friday, January 29, 2016

Obituary Note: Neil Middleton

Neil Middleton, who died December 8, was "one of the best and the brightest of a vanishing breed in publishing: a man who believed in the power of the written word in the global struggle for social justice and emancipation," Pluto Press managing director Anne Beech wrote in the Bookseller. Middleton was 83. His first publishing job was with Sheed & Ward During the 1950s. He joined Penguin in the 1970s, where he "published the early work of authors who are now part of the progressive canon, including Sheila Rowbotham, Tariq Ali, R D Laing and countless others." In the early 1980s, he became editorial director of Pluto Press, and then established a new, independent publishing imprint, Earthscan, in 1987. Middleton also wrote several books on development and sustainability around the world.

Beech observed that Middleton's "scholarly antennae were second to none. His humanity, commitment, passion and joie de vivre were legendary. He will be sadly missed and exuberantly remembered by his many friends in what, with hindsight, seems a very different publishing world, one in which ideas and ideals were central--and made a difference."

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