It’s with great sadness that we announce that MBL’s board chairman, Mr. Toby Eady, has passed away on the 24th, December, after losing his battle with cancer.
As an accomplished literary agent, Toby represented authors such as Bernard Cornwall, John Carey, Patrick Marnham, and Rachel Seiffert. He was widely respected for his knowledge and insights on writers from China and the Middle East, and represented Jung Chang’s Wild Swans and all the works by Xinran, his wife and also the MBL founder.
Since the foundation of MBL, Toby has been one of its most passionate and devoted advocates and supporters. He attended numerous MBL events and hosted volunteers from different countries in his house. He visited China with Xinran and other MBLers many times to help with the Books for Kids project, which has now set up 23 libraries in rural China.
Toby was keen on introducing more Chinese writers to the West. He co-organized “Open Eyes to China,” where he took Western publishers and literary agents to China multiple times to strengthen the communication between the West and China in regards to publishing and translation. He also played a key role in launching the Southern International Literary and Publishing Festival in China.
To many MBLers, Toby was a nurturing and caring father figure, as well as a mentor and a friend. They called him affectionately, datuo, the Big Toby. In addition to books, Toby enjoyed watching soccer and the news, taking long walks in Hyde Park, spending time with his authors and friends, and discussing everything related to China with Xinran.
We’re extremely saddened by Toby’s passing and miss him tremendously. His spirit and wisdom will remain with us forever.
To honor Toby and to celebrate his legacy, we invite you to donate to MBL. Please include in your note specifying that the fund is in memory of Toby Eady. Your kindness and support will help make a big difference. Thank you!