Following the sad loss of Matthew Evans, former Chairman of Faber and Faber, Judy Golding remembers the relationship between him and her father, William Golding.
‘Very sad to hear of the death of Matthew Evans. As Chairman of Faber he was a great supporter of my dad. He encouraged him, commiserated with him over his writing difficulties, and on at least one occasion wrote him a letter (hand-written — hence not kept on file) consoling him for his shame about a heavy night’s drinking. He could be extremely fierce in defence of my father’s works, on one occasion calling off an unauthorised stage adaptation of Lord of the Flies days before curtain-up. My mother was very fond of Matthew; she remembered seeing him as a young man, just starting at Faber – charismatic and powerful-seeming, even in his twenties. And Matthew I think returned their affection. They had many good times together, going on trips – I think one was to Russia – and finding that their friendship added much zest to the business of publishing. No one but Matthew I believe could have persuaded my father to authorise an adaptation of Lord of the Flies for the stage, or found the right person to do it.
Soon after my parents moved to Cornwall in 1985 Matthew and his family bought a house near St Just in Roseland, about twelve miles away across the River Fal. There were many lunches and dinners. Matthew introduced my parents to A L Rowse and to many other Cornish friends. I still have wonderful letters my father wrote me about their first year in Cornwall (we were in the US at the time) and Matthew – human, relaxed, funny — figures largely in them. It’s so hard to believe that brilliant, lively figure has gone.’
CEO, William Golding Ltd.