October 7, 2005
Philanthropist buys literary journal Granta
By Jeffrey Goldfarb
LONDON (Reuters) - Swedish-born philanthropist Sigrid
Rausing has bought Granta, the century old literary journal
renowned for discovering new writers like poet Sylvia Plath and
A.A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh.
Rausing, whose UK-based trust has given more than 65
million pounds over the past decade for international human
rights work, also started publishing firm Portobello Books
earlier this year with her husband, film producer Eric Abraham.
Granta, which publishes books alongside its quarterly
literary magazine, will be kept separate from Portobello.
"I am delighted that Granta will remain an independent
publishing company and that it will be in the good and capable
hands of Sigrid Rausing, who has a strong sense of appreciation
for Granta," said Rea Hederman, the New York Review of Books
owner who took a controlling share in Granta in 1994.
Granta was founded by Cambridge University students in 1889
to create a journal filled with political discourse and
literary criticism. It has evolved into a favorite among
literati in the United States and Britain for spotting
Among the Granta contributors have been Gabriel Garcia
Marquez, Michael Frayn, Salman Rushdie and Paul Theroux.
"As a showcase for new writing, the magazine is unrivalled,
and as a publisher of innovative work, both it and Granta Books
have few equals," Rausing said.
"I intend to ensure both have the human and financial
resources to flourish," she added.
After years of financial woes, Granta last year swung to a
profit of 168,000 pounds on about 3 million pounds of sales
from a 129,000 pound loss in 2003 and 2.3 million pounds of
Rausing's family, whose wealth came from the Tetra-Pak
drinks carton manufacturing company, moved to Britain from
Sweden in the early 1970s. The family was third on the Sunday
Times list of richest people in Britain last year, with an
estimated fortune of 5 billion pounds.
Sigrid set up the trust in 1995, originally naming it after
her grandparents. It was changed to the Sigrid Rausing Trust in
2003 to more closely link it with her own aims and ideals.