A legend of the arts underground who co-founded the Traverse Theatre Club has received an honorary doctorate.
Producer, publisher and renowned Paris dinner party host Jim Haynes was presented with the accolade at a ceremony at 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 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.
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 and John Lennon 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. The teetotaller welcomed up to 70 guests to his artist’s studio every week, many of whom he’d never met, cooking for them and serving an array of drinks. Any donations he received were gifted to social and artistic projects.
As a publisher he brought forth work by authors such as Beat Poet Ted Joans and John Calder.
Since 2016 Napier University has housed the Jim Haynes Living Archive, a collection of original documents and artefacts that explore the cultural icon’s impact on the arts scene in Edinburgh and London in the 1960s, and took more than three years to collate.
Personal journals, correspondence and recorded conversations with significant figures from the time including John Lennon and James Baldwin are also housed within the extensive archive alongside travel records, his entire publishing back-catalogue of his Handshake Editions and a full record of his infamous Sunday night dinners.
His most recent book, World Citizen at Home in Paris, published in 2016, is an observational account of his years in Edinburgh and abroad.
Haynes was due to be honoured by the university last year but was unable to travel due to ill health, so he received his Honorary Doctorate of Arts in a special one-off ceremony at the Craiglockhart campus.
He 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 to Edinburgh in the years to come.”
Prof Andrea Nolan, Principal of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “We are delighted to honour a man who has made such a significant contribution to the arts.”