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Book event: Thomas Harding in conversation with Aviva Dautch about The Maverick – George Weidenfeld and the Golden Age of Publishing

October 18, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Join The Wiener Holocaust Library and Jewish Renaissance to mark the publication of Thomas Harding’s The Maverick – the story of the famed publisher George Weidenfeld, who transformed not only publishing but the culture of ideas, from his struggles as an Austrian-Jewish refugee in London to his rise as a world-renowned literary figure.

After arriving in London just before the Second World War as a penniless and friendless Austrian-Jewish refugee, George Weidenfeld went on to transform not only the world of publishing but the culture of ideas. The books that he published include momentous titles such as LolitaDouble HelixThe Group and The Hedgehog and the Fox, with authors he championed ranging from Joan Didion, Mary McCarthy, Golda Meir and Edna O’Brien to Henry Miller, Harold Wilson, Saul Bellow and Henry Kissinger.

In this first biography, Thomas Harding provides a full, unvarnished and at times difficult history of a complex and fascinating character. Throughout his long career, George Weidenfeld was written about in the New York Times, the Washington PostTimeVanity Fair and other publications. Was he, as described by some, the ‘greatest salesperson’, ‘the world’s best networker’, ‘the publisher’s publisher’ and ‘a great intellectual’? Was his lifelong effort to be the world’s most famous host a cover for his desperate loneliness? Who, in fact, was the real George Weidenfeld and how did he rise so successfully within the ranks of London and New York society?

Covering topics such as democracy, identity, the plight of refugees, globalism, the liberal international order, tension in the Middle East, inter-generational trauma and reconciliation, and dialogue between faiths, the issues that George Weidenfeld faced are still as current and relevant today.

Praise for The Maverick

‘Thomas Harding has doggedly unearthed fascinating and surprising tales from George Weidenfeld’s life as he rose from poverty and Nazi persecution to become one of the world’s most powerful publishers. Harding reveals a complex personality in a richly told narrative that leaves the reader awed’ – LYNN MEDFORD, former editor, Washington Post Magazine

‘The Maverick anchors George Weidenfeld as one of the foremost influencers in modern literature and a man who rose from extraordinary circumstances to lead an even more extraordinary life.

A treasure trove of insight and history’ – ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

About the speakers:

Thomas Harding is a bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than sixteen languages. He has written for the Sunday Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, among other publications. His books include Hanns and Rudolf, which won the JQ-Wingate Prize for Non-Fiction; The House by the Lake, which was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award; Blood on the Page, which won the Crime Writers’ Association ‘Golden Dagger Award for Non-Fiction’ and White Debt: The Demerara Uprising and Britain’s Legacy of Slavery.

Aviva Dautch is a poet and the Executive Director of Jewish Renaissance. She has a PhD in contemporary poetry and her poems have been published in magazines and anthologies internationally. She was recently selected as one of the winners of the Primers Prize for emerging voices and received an Authors’ Foundation Grant from The Society of Authors. She has lectured on modern Jewish culture at the University of Roehampton, the London School of Jewish Studies and JW3.

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2 comments so far

  • Gaby Winter says:

    We were unable to register due to link failure for:
    Book event: Thomas Harding in conversation with Aviva Dautch about The Maverick – George Weidenfeld and the Golden Age of Publishing
    Please let us know when the link is fixed.


    • Samantha Dulieu says: [ Staff Member ]

      Hi Gaby, our apologies, the link should be fixed now. If not, you can go direct through the Library’s Eventbrite – Search ‘Weiner Library’ on the Eventbrite website.

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