A tribute to Eva Figes 1932-2012
Earlier this month we were saddened to hear of the death of writer, Eva Figes, best known for her feminist polemic Patriarchal Attitudes, published in 1970, Eva was also a tireless campaigner for authors’ rights.
Eva was not only a talented writer, but also a key member of the Writers' Action Group (WAG) which after campaigning for Public Lending Right (PLR) went on to set up ALCS.
Fellow WAG Member, Joyce Marlow, paid her own tribute to Eva: "I was impressed by her clarity of mind and the force of her arguments. I don’t claim we ever became bosom friends but fortuitously I got to know her quite well and in the process to admire her."
She continues: “Writers owe Eva a particular thank you. For it was she who led the battle to have the now common acknowledgment 'The right of ... to be identified as the author of this work etc' inserted in books.”
In 1980, a year after PLR was implemented, Eva as Chair of the books committee at the Writers' Guild was responsible for the first call for authors to strike against a major publisher. Eva "never watered down unwelcome truths for anyone", according to fellow committee member Tim Jeal.
Describing her reaction to the victory against the publishers after nine months of strike, Tim writes: "She smiled broadly and said she knew how Field Marshal Montgomery must have felt at Lüneburg Heath in 1945."
Eva's negotiations after the strike led to minimum terms being established with Penguin, Century-Hudson and Harper Collins among others. Eva is survived by her two children, the writers Kate Figes and Orlando Figes.