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Diana's honour for literature

PUBLISHED: 10:18 02 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:45 07 September 2010

Diana Athill

Diana Athill

A RENOWNED Primrose Hill author and literary editor who worked with some of the most important writers of the 20th century is among the recipients of the Queen s 2009 New Year Honours. Diana Athill, who lives in Elsworthy Terrace, has been awarded an OBE

A RENOWNED Primrose Hill author and literary editor who worked with some of the most important writers of the 20th century is among the recipients of the Queen's 2009 New Year Honours.

Diana Athill, who lives in Elsworthy Terrace, has been awarded an OBE for services to literature.

The 91-year-old graduated from Oxford and worked for the BBC during the Second World War, after which she helped Andre Deutsch establish his publishing company.

There she worked closely with many authors including Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, Simone de Beauvoir and Gitta Sereny.

She said: "I am very pleased about it. I feel very good and I like very much that it is services to literature because I have worked with books all these years.

"Apart from writing myself, other people's books have mattered to me a great deal and to be recognised is lovely.

"It was always very interesting editing other people's books but some of the big authors I worked with needed very little editing.

"A highlight of my career for me was editing Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny which was a lot of interviews with a man who was in an extermination camp during the Second World War and she really got to the bottom of him.

"It was a lot of material and together we organised it all which was very interesting. It all fitted in which was wonderful."

Ms Athill retired age 75 in 1993 after more than 50 years publishing. She wrote Stet, a memoir of her life as an editor, which was published in 2000.


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