Original Thinking &
In 1768 John McMurray was looking for a business opportunity. Confident that ‘total blockheads in the trade’ were making fortunes, he invested £700 of his wife’s money in publishing. A convivial hustler, Murray’s Fleet Street shop soon became a hub of literary life.
Following the success of Byron’s Childe Harold, John Murray moved to Albemarle Street where, a few years later, early cantos of Byron’s Don Juan were sold from the window to an eager crowd. Anticipating the needs and desires of the reading public, John Murray were the first publisher to produce a mass-market cookery book as well the first self-help title, the first travel guides and, in Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation, the first television tie-in.
Though much has changed since John Murray published Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Jane Austen’s Emma, Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, John Betjeman’s Collected Poems, and launched ‘the greatest travel book of the twentieth century’, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts, we remain entrepreneurial, curious and excited about discovering and nurturing new voices that can shape and shake our world.
John Murray is the home of prize-winning debuts including Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala, The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley and The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. Elmet by Fiona Mozley, Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh and Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones have all been shortlisted for the Booker and Mick Herron’s bestselling Slough House series have been heralded as some of the best thrillers of all time.
Our non-fiction includes Andrea Wulf’s Costa-winning, The Invention of Nature, prize-shortlisted Harold McGee’s Nosedive, Jill Lepore’s If Then, and bestsellers Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, Randall Munroe’s What If?, Kassia St Clair’s The Secret Lives of Colour, and Stephen Hawking’s final book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions.
In 2015 we created the John Murray Originals list, a home for risk-taking, genre-defying fiction and non-fiction that has launched the careers of Jessie Greengrass and Fiona Mozley. In 2021 we begin the John Murray Journeys, a beautifully designed series of classic and forgotten travel writing with new introductions. And in 2022, we will launch Baskerville, our distinctive crime and thriller list.
Literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, science, history, biography, memoir, travel and nature writing that is entertaining, absorbing, surprising and prize-winning.