Fanny Dubes Arbuthnott

Fanny Dubes Arbuthnott and Ian Dury at the Faber and Faber launch of Hard Lines 1. 1983


Oxford resident Fanny Dubes Arbuthnott is an editor and photographer

These remarkable photos are from her early days as a freelance photographer and from her pivotal involvement in the ground breaking Hard Lines series.

James Baldwin

This was the first photograph I took for The Times in 1984. Together with James Campbell, who wrote the article, I spent the day with James Baldwin at his home in St Paul de Vence, France.

This photograph was used on the back cover of James Campbell’s first book Invisible Country. A Journey through Scotland published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 1984

Grace Nichols

I took this photograph of the Caribbean-British poet Grace Nichols for Books and Bookmen in 1984.

I took this photograph of Mike Zwerin, jazz musician, and jazz critic, at the Warsaw Jazz Festival. He was covering the jazz festival for the International Herald Tribune. They published a photo I took of Ornette Coleman to accompany Mike’s piece.

Mike Zwerin
Hard Lines

Hard Lines. 1983

I saw an interview with Paul Weller of the Jam and Robert McCrum, who was then editorial director of Faber and Faber. They were discussing Fanzines and whether an established publishing house would ever publish young people’s poetry. Robert McCrum said yes if he found the right editor.

I thought yes! I’d be really interested in doing that. I worked in publishing, loved poetry and had worked with young people. I came up with the title Hard Lines and we approached Ian Dury to be part of it. We went on to publish a series of 3.

They really inspired young people to write poetry and were used in schools. After I had edited 3 with in-house editor Sarah Hardie from 1983 to 1987, I thought it was time someone else took it on, but sadly no one did.

Ian Dury. reading from Hard Lines

We launched Hard Lines 2 in 1985 at the Electric Cinema Portobello Road, London. Some of the young participants selected for Hard Lines 2 read their poetry as well as Ian Dury.

We went on to publish a series of 3. We asked Pete Townshend of The Who and Alan Bleasdale, the screenwriter, to be part of our selection team for Hard Lines 2 and Tom Paulin, the Northern Irish Poet, for Hard Lines 3

 All photographs © 2021 Fanny Dubes Arbuthnott All Rights Reserved.

By Fanny Dubes Arbuthnott