A Moment of (Stunned) Silence at Arcade

Last night, I was alerted by Casey, my editor at Arcade, that Richard Seaver — founder and president of Arcade Publishing — passed away unexpectedly on January 5. He was 82.

The obituary from today’s New York Times is here.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Richard personally, but I knew of his reputation and commitment to making Arcade a top-notch publisher that played with the big boys, despite its smaller size. Richard was highly-selective about the kinds of books Arcade published — “elegant” was the one word my agent could come up with to describe their output — and I’ll be forever grateful to him for taking a chance on me and my first book.

Stephen Weissman — whose book Chaplin: A Life was one of the last books Seaver edited — calls Seaver “a great editor I was lucky to know.” My own editor — who has worked with Richard and his partner (and wife) Jeannette for years now — was understandably emotional. “I can’t believe he’s really gone,” she told me, “and that I’ll never see him again, in his purple shirt and hand-painted necktie, or hear him crack his sometimes truly corny jokes. A light has gone out, and the world is poorer for having lost the brilliant Dick Seaver.

“In the meantime,” she added, “we carry on in his memory.”

A memorial service will be announced shortly, Meanwhile, his family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made in his name  to PEN American Center, 588 Broadway, Suite 303, New York, New York 10012.

As just one of countless members of the extended Arcade family, my thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to Richard’s wife, Jeannette, and their family and friends.

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