In 1956, when the author and journalist Stephen Fay was simply 18 years outdated, he was invited, together with different recipients of the Beaverbrook scholarship for youngsters of journalists, to lunch by the lord himself. Beaverbrook requested them for his or her response to the Suez disaster. Stephen was the one one to say that it was an especially unhealthy thought.
Regardless of his tender years, he already refused to be intimidated, a attribute that served him effectively in six a long time of writing and modifying.
When the Financial institution of England was displeased after his guide Portrait of an Previous Girl: Turmoil on the Financial institution of England was printed in 1987, Stephen refused to take again a phrase; when Ian Botham tore into him within the Lord’s press field due to what he had written, Stephen stood his floor. The one time he expressed remorse a few topic’s ire was after the publication of Energy Play: The Life and Occasions of Peter Corridor (1995), his biography of the Nationwide Theatre director, whom Stephen revered for each his creative interpretation and political presents.
Stephen, who has died aged 81, was one of many nice all-rounders of his day, a person of great power and flexibility who made a profession from his passions. His books fall roughly into three classes – enterprise and finance, theatre and opera, and cricket, to which he devoted the final a part of an astonishingly broad profession.
After 20 years on the Sunday Occasions, lastly as Washington correspondent, after which twice deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday, he grew to become, aged 62, the editor of Wisden Cricket Month-to-month, which the Wisden editor-in-chief Matthew Engel described as in step with the organisation’s “youth coverage”.
Stephen’s nice skilled pleasure lately was the profitable partnership with David Kynaston on Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket (2018), which earned the 2019 Cricket Guide of the 12 months award.
His early books had been generated by his work for the Sunday Occasions after the arrival of Sir Harold Evans as editor in 1968. Compelled by a ardour for establishing the info, Stephen wrote Hoax (1972), the Edgar award-winning exposé of Clifford Irving’s faux biography of Howard Hughes, with Lewis Chester and Magnus Linklater, and The Dying of Venice (1976) – in regards to the industrial air pollution and corruption within the metropolis – together with his buddy Phillip Knightley.
In 1980 he printed The Nice Silver Bubble, the account of how the Home of Saud and the Hunt household of Texas tried to nook the silver market. The Collapse of Barings (1996) was, stated Kynaston – not, then, a buddy – “a virtuoso piece of high-speed analysis and writing” which “pulls no punches”.
Born in Littleborough, Lancashire, Stephen was the son of Gerard Fay, a journalist on the Manchester Guardian who later grew to become its London editor, and Alice (nee Bentley), who grew to become a instructor. Gerard was the son of Frank, certainly one of two actor brothers who helped arrange the Abbey theatre in Dublin with JM Synge and Augusta Gregory.
After Stephen and his household moved south he went to Highgate college the place, in his phrases, “his efficiency was totally with out distinction”. He did 4 years on the College of New Brunswick, Canada, for his scholarship at Beaverbrook’s alma mater, and returned in 1959 with an MA in mid-century maritime economics.
Coming from a well-known theatrical household, Stephen had at all times toyed with the thought of the stage, however as a substitute, grew to become a journalist with a weekly journal and was later supplied a job on the Glasgow Night Herald. In 1964 he grew to become Labour editor for the Sunday Times, the identical 12 months he married Prudence Butcher, a South African journalist whom he had met on a press journey to Italy organised by a drinks firm.
After twenty years with the paper he emerged as an apostle for the Sunday Occasions college of writing, but additionally as an instinctive and decisive editor. In 1986 he grew to become editor of Kevin Kelly’s Enterprise Journal the place he confirmed one other trait – assist for younger writers.
One among these was Michael Lewis, the now well-known creator of The Large Brief and Moneyball, whom Stephen noticed early. “While you had been with him,” stated Lewis, “you felt such as you had entered a time capsule and been transported again to 19th-century Fleet Avenue. He had a face that ought to have been painted by Hogarth, and was only a pleasure to jot down for.”
In 1990, simply after the launch of the Impartial on Sunday, he took over as Stephen Glover’s deputy and was accountable for a lot of the paper’s growth. “He was a grasp of the longer descriptive or analytical piece. Younger journalists cherished studying from him,” stated Glover. He returned to the function as deputy to Rosie Boycott, 1996-98 and was briefly appearing editor.
This led to his last third of his profession – cricket writing. Since 1948, when aged 10 he noticed Denis Compton in addition to Don Bradman’s final innings at Lord’s, he had been hooked. He wrote on cricket for the Impartial on Sunday then, in 2000, took on the plum Wisden job.
He appointed the younger Emma John, now an award-winning sports writer for, amongst others, the Guardian. “Lengthy earlier than it was cool, he championed feminine sports activities writers like me and Tanya Aldred [of the Guardian],” stated Emma, who grew to become a buddy.
Stephen cherished speaking to cricket stars. He was at his happiest at a current Garrick membership cricket dinner when surrounded by David Gower, the commentator Jonathan Agnew and the previous Australian captain Greg Chappell.
It happy him that Mike Brearley phoned him in hospital throughout what turned out to be his last weeks. And he was pleased with his friendships with Bob Willis and one other England captain, Michael Atherton. “I at all times left his firm with a spring in my step,” stated Atherton. “He was a welcome presence within the press field, as a result of he got here from exterior cricket.”
A captivating man with an enormous grin, Stephen cherished folks and sharing his data and expertise. He was an especially cultured man, at all times studying, captivated with artwork and structure, and sometimes going to the theatre and opera with Prudence.
She survives him, as do his kids, Susanna and Matthew, and his grandchildren, Rose, Phoebe, Georgina and Charlotte.
• Stephen Francis John Fay, author and journalist, born 14 August 1938; died 12 Could 2020
— to www.theguardian.com