Former Independent on Sunday editor Ian Jack dies, aged 77

Former colleagues pay tribute to a ‘wonderful editor’ and ‘the best of men’

Jane Dalton
Saturday 29 October 2022 22:30 BST
Ian Jack, back row second left, was on the Booker prize judging panel in 1996
Ian Jack, back row second left, was on the Booker prize judging panel in 1996 (PA)

Ian Jack, one of the founding journalists of The Independent on Sunday, has died at the age of 77 after a short illness.

Jack, who also edited “The Sindy” from 1991 to 1995, was a talented writer of columns and non-fiction books.

As a young man, he joined The Sunday Times, under Harold Evans, where he was a section editor and then a foreign correspondent.

His first book, Before the Oil Ran Out: Britain 1977-86, drew together his most memorable features, painting a portrait of the human cost of Margaret Thatcher’s policies.

Mofussil Junction: Indian Encounters 1977-2012 drew on his experience as a foreign correspondent in India in the 1970s and 1980s, and The Country Formerly Known as Great Britain, a collection of his writing, was highly acclaimed.

After The Independent on Sunday, he moved on to edit literary magazine Granta and wrote a weekly column for The Guardian. His final piece for the paper, published last weekend, marked the centenary of the BBC, “one of the world’s great cultural projects”.

Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian’s former editor, paid tribute to Jack as “a warm, generous man” and “a beautiful prose stylist who loved the craft of reporting”.

In 2009, Jack was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

In an Independent piece looking back at the launch of “The Sindy”, Jack wrote: “The paper had two things going for it: the fine reputation that the daily Independent had built up in the previous four years, and the skills of the writers and editors it had been wise or lucky enough to recruit.”

Jack, whose parents were Scottish, died after he taken ill on the Isle of Bute, where he spent part of every year.

Renowned interviewer Lynn Barber said Jack had been a “wonderful editor” at The Independent on Sunday, adding: “I owe him so much.”

Jack, who had spotted her talent when she was on the Sunday Express, recruited her to The Independent on Sunday at its launch in 1990, when he was deputy editor.

Novelist Linda Grant, who also worked for the paper, said he was “the best of men”. “He thought deeply and wrote fluently and with grace,” she tweeted.

Read Ian Jack’s Independent columns here.

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