David Attwooll, poet and chair of Liverpool University Press, has died at the age of 67 after succumbing to Erdheim-Chester Disease.
Attwooll was born in 1949 and began his career in publishing at Oxford University Press in 1970. By the time Attwooll left the company he was editorial director of its trade and reference books. In 1989 he joined Century Hutchinson, now Random House, as managing director of its paperback division. In March 1992, after a management buyout, he launched Helicon, the publishing company that bought the rights to Random House's reference books. He was m.d. of Helicon until 2002.
Attwooll eventually sold the business to WH Smith for £5.6m and set up Attwooll Associates, a licensing and consultancy business that has serviced more than sixty publishing clients, including Penguin, Bloomsbury and Dorling Kindersley. Attwooll Associates won the Independent Publishers’ Guild GBS Award for Services to Independent Publishers in both 2009 and 2011.
In 2004, Attwooll joined Liverpool University Press, which was facing closure. Its subsequent relaunch with Attwooll as chair, and with a corporate structure that he proposed, saw LUP crowned both IPG Frankfurt Book Fair Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year and Independent Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards 2015.
Alongside his roles as director of Attwooll Associates and chairman of LUP, Attwooll was also chair of the board of trustees for Oxford Contemporary Music, a member of the Industry Advisory Board for the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, and a member of the cultural advisory board for Oxford Inspires.
Attwooll was also a poet and his first full collection of poetry, The Sound Ladder, was published in April 2015 by Two Rivers Press. His work has appeared in several magazines and anthologies, and he was one of the winners of the 2013 Poetry Business pamphlet prize with Surfacing (smith/doorstop). He has also published two pamphlets illustrated by Andrew Walton: Otmoor (Black Poplar 2016) and Ground Work (Black Poplar 2014).
Anthony Cond, director of LUP, said: "In a long and distinguished career, David proved himself to be a pioneering and creative publisher, who made an impact in trade, reference and academic. Always generous and supportive, he was also quick to nurture new talent and to share knowledge, as the sixty-plus clients for his digital consultancy business - including some of the industry’s major imprints - attest."
Attwooll is survived by his wife Trish, and children Will, Kate and Tom.