Legend of the arts underground honoured

Honorary doctorate for Jim Haynes

Date posted

25 June 2018


Producer, publisher and renowned Paris dinner party host Jim Haynes has received an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University.

Louisiana-born Haynes, 84, made his name in Edinburgh by creating Britain’s first paperback bookshop in the late 1950s and co-producing the 1962 Edinburgh International Writers Conference.


The following year he co-founded the Traverse Theatre Club with John Calder and Richard Demarco where, as artistic director, he established the continuing policy that it would be a theatre for writers and only produce new plays.

The Traverse and Haynes’s efforts contributed to the eventual formation of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, now the largest performing arts festival in the world.

In 1966 Haynes moved to London where he co-founded the International Times alternative newspaper with Barry Miles and John Hopkins. The following year he set up the Drury Lane Arts Lab, which hosted familiar faces such as David Bowie, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and spawned a new generation of artists, filmmakers, writers and directors.

After relocating to Paris in 1969, Haynes taught media studies and sexual politics at the University of Paris for 30 years, and found more fame with his open house Sunday dinners, which featured in an international TV advert for After Eight mints. As publisher with his Handshake Editions imprint, he brought forth work by authors such as Beat Poet Ted Joans and John Calder among others.

Haynes was due to be honoured by the university last year but was unable to travel to Edinburgh due to ill health, so he received his Honorary Doctorate of Arts today in a special one-off ceremony at the Craiglockhart campus.

Jim said: “I am deeply honoured to be recognised by Edinburgh Napier, and hope to make a positive contribution to students’ experience, the life of the university and my beloved city of Edinburgh in the years to come.”

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “We are delighted to honour a man who has made such a significant contribution to the arts, not only in Edinburgh but nationally and internationally.”

Celebrating success at Edinburgh Napier