The John Murray Story 1768 – present
John Murray’s heritage is a fascinating story in itself.
For nearly a quarter of a millennium, John Murray has been unashamedly populist, publishing the absorbing, provocative, commercial and exciting. Seven generations of John Murrays fostered genius and found readers in vast numbers, until in 2002 the firm became a division of Hachette, under the umbrella of Hodder & Stoughton.
From selling volumes of Byron to massed crowds from the window of the old Albemarle Street offices (the premises are still owned by the Murray family and used as a venue), to publishing Jane Austen, Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria and making John Betjeman the nation’s favourite poet, John Murray has always published great writing for a wide audience.
John Murray has always been at the forefront of innovative publishing:
1805: We published the first mass-market cookery book: A New System of Domestic Cookery, by a Lady.
1815: Jane Austen decided to move to Murray with Emma, which we published in 1816.
1836: We published the first travel guidebooks (Murray’s Guides).
1859: We published the first self-help book (Self Help by Samuel Smiles). We also published Darwin’s epoch-shaking On the Origin of Species.
1958: We published John Betjeman’s Collected Poems, which has now sold over two million copies — the bestselling poetry book of all time.
1969: We published the first TV tie-in (Civilisation by Kenneth Clark).
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s Heat and Dust wins the Booker Prize
1977: The ‘greatest travel book of the twentieth century’, A Time of Giftsby Patrick Leigh Fermor published
2002: John Murray leaves family hands after seven generations
2002: Peacemakers by Margaret MacMillan wins the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize and the Hessell-Tiltman Prize
2003: The first new acquisition since the company became part of Hodder Headline (now Hachette), A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, becomes a perennial and controversial bestseller
2004: Rebirth of the John Murray fiction list with Neil Jordan’s Shade
2005: Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala wins John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
2007: Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones becomes a global bestseller, wins the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
2008: Amitav Ghosh launches his epic Ibis trilogy with Sea of Poppies, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
2008: Down River by John Hart wins Edgar Award for Best Novel
2008: The Secret Life of Words by Henry Hitchings wins the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
2009: The Last Child by John Hart wins CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger/ITV Thriller of the Year Award, and the Edgar Award for Best Novel
2009: Up in the Air by Walter Kirn turned into a film starring George Clooney
2010: Film Sarah’s Key, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, released, based on Tatiana de Rosnay’s novel of the same name
2010: Wait For Me! by Deborah Devonshire shortlisted for the British Book Awards Biography of the Year
2011: Mistaken by Neil Jordan wins Irish Book of the Year Award
2012: Icelight by Aly Monroe wins CWA Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award
2012: Lloyd Jones’s Mister Pip adapted into a film starring Hugh Laurie
2012: Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure by Artemis Cooper shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award, the Waterstone’s Book of the Year Award and the National Book Awards Biography of the Year
2013: The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh Fermor, edited by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper, completes the finest series of travel books of the preceding century
2013: John Murray Press is formed, incorporating Hodder Faith, John Murray Learning, Two Roads and Saltyard
2014: What If? By Randall Munroe a No.1 Christmas bestseller
The Murray tradition continues strongly today. Our current publishing represents quality and populism. We believe in the discovery of new long-lasting authors and inviting readers to share that with us.