Chatto was founded in 1855 by a bookseller-publisher called John Camden Hotten. On Hotten's death, Andrew Chatto, who had worked there since he was fifteen, acquired the business with a sleeping partner, W.E. Windus. In 1917, The Hogarth Press was founded by Virginia and Leonard Woolf, and in 1946 this too came under Chatto’s management. The firm published many significant writers and classics – R.L. Stevenson, Lytton Strachey, Marcel Proust, Laurie Lee, Christopher Isherwood, Rosamond Lehmann, Henry Green, Sigmund Freud and Iris Murdoch. Cecil Day-Lewis, Poet Laureate, was editorial director in the 1960s.
In 1969 Chatto joined forces with Jonathan Cape, then added The Bodley Head and later the Virago Press to their group. Carmen Callil, a founder of Virago, was Chatto’s managing director from 1982 to 1994. The publishing group was acquired by Random House in 1987, and in 1997 Sinclair Stevenson was merged with Chatto & Windus.
Chatto has continued its long tradition of publishing excellent literary fiction and contemporary international writers in translation as well as great literary biography, memoirs, history, contemporary cultural comment and poetry. Today, Chatto publishes novelists ranging from A.S. Byatt, Michele de Kretser, Anita Desai, David Malouf, Javier Marias, Toni Morrison, Alice Munro, Irene Nemirovsky, Amos Oz, Atiq Rahimi, Rose Tremain and Anne Tyler, to Fannie Flagg, Margaret Forster, Arthur Golden, Susan Hill, Mary Lawson and Richard Russo.
A new generation of novelists and poets includes Ruth Padel, Adam O’Riordan, Allison Pearson, D.J.Taylor, Sadie Jones, Xiaolu Guo, Etgar Keret and Jennie Rooney. Chatto's non-fiction list features eminent names such as Peter Ackroyd, Michael Holroyd, Tim Butcher, Colin Thubron, Richard Mabey, Helena Kennedy, Nigella Lawson, Blake Morrison, Andrew Solomon, Xinran and Marina Warner.
Chatto & Windus publishes many award-winning authors, including Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, International Man Booker Prize winner Alice Munro, Rose Tremain, who won the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2008 for The Road Home, as well as two Goncourt Prize winners – Jonathan Littell and Atiq Rahimi – and two Booker Prize winners - The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch and Possession by A.S. Byatt.