Monday, October 10, 2011


I was delighted to learn this week that the grand old man of NZ book publishing Ray Richards is working pretty much full-time on his memoirs.
Ray tells me the project has three main sections - the story of New Zealanders in the Fleet Air Arm in which Ray was a fighter pilot in World War 2; stories of authors and books from  his many years as publisher at the (admired and much lamented) AH & AW Reed publishing house; family history.

Ray's career in the book trade has been a hugely impressive one with his long and illustrious career at AH & AW Reed followed by two years as founding executive director of the Book Publishers Association,
(now PANZ), and finally the establishment in 1977 of NZ's largest literary agency, Richards Literary Agency. Among their many clients are Maurice Gee, Tessa Duder, Witi Ihimaera, Joy Cowley, Robyn Belton, Julie Biuso, Brian Falkner and Bryan Bruce.

Ray is at pains to point out that while he is working on his memoirs the RLA continues as before. Key players there are:

Frances Plumpton,(left),the children's and young adult agent. Frances joined the Agency after a distinguished career as a specialist children's librarian.
Judy Bartlam - watchdog over accounts, royalties and rights
Elaine Blake, Ray's assistant for 10+ years who with Frances' collaboration looks after adult writers, film contracts and new clients.
And of course Ray is in the office right next door for consultation at any time he is needed.

The pictures of Ray at the top of this story show him surrounded by books in his home office, as a pilot in Word War 2, and in a painting done by his talented artistic wife Barbara. And speaking of Barbara I can tell you that she and Ray will celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary in December this year. Bravo!

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