Chatto & Windus

Date began: 
01 Jan 1855

Chatto & Windus, a leading publisher of books from the Victorian era, became an important platform for South Asian Anglophone writers. Founded in 1855 by John Camden Hotten, it was sold in 1873 to his junior partner Andrew Chatto, who took on the poet W. E. Windus as a partner. Chatto first published the Indo-Irish writer Aubrey Menen’s novel The Prevalence of Witches (1947). The company continued to publish his works, and went on to publish a significant number of South Asian writers in English. Chatto & Windus’ interest in publishing South Asians appears to date from its acquisition of a controlling interest in Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press (founded in 1917) in 1947, given the latter's close connection and support of South Asian Anglophone writers. Cecil Day Lewis, one of Hogarth’s prize authors, became an editor at Chatto and edited Attia Hosain’s novels. Putnam, later Bodley Head, merged with Chatto in the late 1960s. Chatto then merged with Jonathan Cape (1969) and Virago (1982). The companies retained editorial control until Random House purchased the group in 1987.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Attia Hosain, John Camden Hotten, Cecil Day Lewis, Aubrey Menen, W. E. Windus.

Published works: 

Chaudhuri, Nirad, The Continent of Circe (1965)

Hosain, Attia, Phoenix Fled (1953)

Hosain, Attia, Sunlight on a Broken Column (1961)

Markandaya, Kamala, Two Virgins (1974)

Menen, Aubrey, The Prevalence of Witches (1947)

Menen, Aubrey, Dead Man in a Silver Market: An Autobiographical Essay on National Prides (1954)

Narayan, R. K., The Ramayana (1973)

Narayan, R. K., My Days (1975)

Sahgal, Nayantara,  Storm in Chandigarh (1969)

Singh, Khushwant, Train to Pakistan (1956)

Secondary works: 

Ranasinha, Ruvani, South Asian Writers in Twentieth-Century Britain:Culture in Translation (Oxford: Clarendon, 2007)

Warner, Oliver, Chatto & Windus: A Brief Account of the Firm's Origin, History and Development (London: Chatto & Windus, 1973)


Archive source: 

Chatto & Windus Archive, University of Reading