Saturday, September 25, 2010

Graeme Hunt: Farewell to a fine author

We are very sad to share the news that Graeme Hunt, an outstanding author with whom we had a close working relationship, died suddenly at his home in Auckland on Wednesday. Graeme, who had just turned 58, had recently undergone minor heart surgery but had subsequently been feeling healthy and positive.

Graeme was an outstanding historian and journalist, a writer with rare insight into business, a publisher in his own right, a tireless supporter of New Zealand books, a generous soul and a friend to many.

He published his first books under his own imprint, Waddington Press, before I commissioned his best-selling The Rich List: Wealth and Enterprise in New Zealand, published by Reed in 2000. Subsequently he published four other works with us at Reed and one with Penguin.

Last year Waddington and Oratia Media jointly published First to Care, the 125-year history of St John in New Zealand, which received excellent reviews and has sold strongly. At the time of his death we were working on first proofs of a major agricultural history he edited, and planning further projects. He was prolific and meticulous as a writer, producing 15 books in all, while being active as a reviewer and mentor to other writers.

Graeme was always politically engaged, and was standing as an independent in the October local body elections in the Albany ward. But he never let his own views cloud his respect for healthy, democratic debate.

Our sympathies go to his wife Saluma, his first wife Jennifer, his children Robert and Ellen, and his family members.

I will be promoting Graeme’s work at the Frankfurt Book Fair in ten days’ time, and Libro International will follow up on the commitment I’d earlier made to Graeme to keep as much as possible of his work in print.

Peter Dowling

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