Naim Attallah’s glorious career spans over three decades working in banking, jewellery, theatre and most importantly, publishing. This eccentric, glamorous and most-often described as enthusiastic man has penetrated the world of the British establishment and made his mark, brilliantly. From his position as the managing director of Asprey’s to his acquisition of the avant garde Quartet Books, Naim Attallah has never been one to shy away from controversy or a challenge, and yet has always risen like a phoenix from the ashes to earn the respect and affection of his colleagues, employees, readers and critics alike.
A.N. Wilson aptly described Naim Attallah’s unique contribution to British publishing history: ‘Naim, as well as being a great publisher, has added immeasurably to the fun of London life, giving lovely parties, and cheering us all up in the days of the dreary publishing conglomerates.’
His most recent book, Fulfilment and Betrayal, covers nearly 30 years of his work in publishing, where Naim Attallah was at the helm of Quartet Books, The Women’s Press and Robin Clark. It acts as a detailed account of the history and vicissitudes of independent publishing in Britain during the late 20th century, and stands on par with those other classic autobiographies of publishers such as Frederick Warburg’s, Stanley Unwin’s, Robert Lustig’s and Diana Athill’s.
Naim Attallah’s experience in publishing is unparalleled. As documented by Ulick O’Connor in the Irish Sunday Independent, “his book-list [includes] the likes of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Henry Kissinger, Jessica Mitford, Tory MP Ian Gilmour, Labour MP Willie Hamilton, and [Bob] Woodward and [Carl] Bernstein’s All The President’s Men”. Geordie Greig, editor of Tatler, says of Naim Attallah, “He lives, breathes and talks books and people as the quintessential publisher should do”.
After 30 years of a passion for books and a dedication to the art of publishing, Naim Attallah has achieved what he has said is his most cherished dream, “to become a publisher and be able to call myself a man of letters”. As such, Fulfilment and Betrayal is a seminal work in the field of publishing, and any serious university course which teaches publishing should have this book as part of its reference catalogue.