Tributes paid to Arcadia founder Gary Pulsifer

Tributes paid to Arcadia founder Gary Pulsifer

Publisher Gary Pulsifer, who founded Arcadia Books, has died after a battle with cancer.

A statement released by his sister Barbara Pulsifer Plummer said it was with "great sadness" that they announced Pulsifer had passed away on Friday (25th March).

Pulsifer founded Arcadia in 1996, and had worked in publishing the UK and the US. He lived at the Book Trade Charity's The Retreat in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire for a number of years. His family said Pulsifer's "love of gardening had the long neglected gardens at The Retreat blooming anew, much to the delight of other residents". He was cared for in his final days at The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted. 

The statement continued: "It is a huge loss to our family, to lose Gary to the cancers that ravaged his body, but we are grateful to know that he is no longer suffering.  He is the oldest of three children and was always a leader as far as travel, experiencing new and different cultures and becoming an entrepreneur. He inspired his younger sister with a love of travel and adventure as well. He is survived by his brother Jeffrey Pulsifer, sister Barbara Pulsifer Plummer and his mother Carol Pulsifer. Gary was
predeceased by his dad, Donald Chester Pulsifer, in August, 2014.  

"We have always known how well liked and respected he was in the publishing world, but it has been comforting and humbling to read the many tributes and condolences expressed throughout social media.  

"We will miss his wit and his dry humor, as well as his warmth and kindness and love. Many thanks to all of his friends and peers who have taken the time to share their grief with us over his untimely passing."

Karen Sullivan, publisher at Orenda Books, said of Pulsifer: "He was the most wonderful man, a true inspiration and friend to me. My mentor. I am devastated.

"He should be remembered for his gifts and his amazing friendship, sense of humour and, of course, massive contribution both to independent publishing and translated literature."

A tribute from Arcadia described Pulsifer as having "exquisite taste as a publisher married to mastery as a publicist".

Arcadia said: "Having founded Arcadia Books he was to publish over 150 authors in poetry, short stories, fiction and nonfiction. Gary was fiercely proud of being an independent publisher winning the accolade for Arcadia as Sunday Times Small Publisher in 2001 and championing the cause by playing significant roles in the IPG and PEN. Gary’s list was to be rewarded with prizes and subventions.

"Gary’s keen eye got him to publish authors of the stature of Michael Arditti, Edward Wilson, Peter Millar,and Bonnie Greer. There is extraordinary distinction in the long list of foreign language writers. Gary’s promotion of his  books and their authors achieved media attention well above the scale of the operation."

Pulsifer was dismissed from his role at Arcadia Books in July 2014.

Piers Russell-Cobb, publisher at Arcadia Books, said: "I will remember always our happy times in London, Frankfurt or Transylvania. Gary brought thoughtfulness; insight, warmth and humour to all the occasions we were together and to the list as a whole. Arcadia’s people and our authors, their agents and colleagues will miss his passions, intelligence and humour."

At Pulsifer's request, there will be no funeral service. However, Sullivan will have a book for people to sign and share their memories at the IPG stand (6E70) at the London Book Fair and "something special" is being planned to celebrate Pulsifer's life later in the year.

Donations in lieu of flowers should be made to The Hospice of St Francis or to The Book Trade Charity.