After more than sixty years of independent publishing it is inevitable that from time to time we have to say goodbye to authors with whom we have worked for many years.
Thus it was with much sadness that we learned of the death of Elaine Morgan last month at the age of 92.
We immediately had a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic when we published her first book The Descent of Woman in 1972, which went on to be published in 11 countries. A pioneering work, it was the first to argue for the equal role of women in human evolution. It became a rallying-point for feminism, changing the terminology of anthropologists forever. Starting with her demolition of the Biblical myth that woman was an afterthought to the creation of man, Elaine Morgan rewrote human history and evolution.
“The Descent of Woman, one of the key feminist texts” – The Guardian
Elaine Morgan remained a Souvenir Press author for 40 years, focusing on her Aquatic Ape campaign, concluding with The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. Her later books developed the scientific theories of The Descent of Woman, making her the leading advocate of the aquatic ape theory of human evolution. Originally dismissed by scientists, it has gained increasing respectability in scientific circles, with Sir David Attenborough in recent weeks being the latest name to endorse the aquatic ape hypothesis.
“She is more scientific than Genesis, more up to date than Darwin, more fun than Ardrey, and she writes better than Desmond Morris.” – Sunday Telegraph on ‘The Descent of Woman’
Elaine Morgan was one of the best Welsh writers of recent times. She was appointed OBE in 2009 for services to literature and to education, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature the same year. Earlier this year she was granted the freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taf, her home county in Wales.
A lovely person, a remarkable woman. For more, visit Elaine Morgan’s website.
R.I.P. Elaine Morgan, 1920-2013.