Nigel Viney, former managing director of William Heinemann, has died at the age of 95.
Viney, who passed away on 9th January, worked in London publishing during the sixties and seventies, culminating in the role of m.d. of Heinemann and serving on the board for many years.
He initially started out in the trade by working in bookselling, first at Blackwells in Oxford then at Dennys in London. He later joined William Heinemann as production manager in 1963, subsequently moving into editorial, where he was engaged in projects including editing the official life of Churchill over many volumes, initially working with Randolph Churchill and latterly with Martin Gilbert.
Laura Morris, who worked with Viney for many years whilst at Secker and Warburg, then sister company to Heinemann, praised his wit and sense of humour, his warmth and his "zest for life" that had endeared him both to colleagues and the wider trade.
"Witty and charismatic, his good temper and sense of humour made him a hugely popular figure, not only at Heinemann but also in the wider publishing and printing worlds," she said. "He managed to make routine production meetings sparkle with fun: he would always concentrate on the elements of a book which surprised him, and if that led into an amusing anecdote of two, so much the better. His zest for life was never far from the surface."
After retiring from Heinemann, Viney turned his hand to writing. Among his publications were The Great Paintings of England (Andre Deutsch Ltd, 1989), Images of Wartime - British Art and Artists of World War I (David & Charles,1991), and The Bluffer’s Guide to Consultancy (Oval Books, 2005).
According to Morris, "He continued to keep up with old publishing friends and colleagues well into his nineties, driving himself to wherever a genial group was gathered, and he never tired of sharing and swapping mischievous memories."
She added: "All of us who were lucky enough to know Nigel over his long, eventful life, felt both exhilarated and invigorated by the warmth of his laughter and endless affection for his fellow human beings."
Viney was married to Val Viney for 58 years, and was a father of four, including to literary agent Charlie Viney, as well as a grandfather and great-grandfather.
A memorial service will be held at midday on Friday 23rd February at All Saints’ Church, Brill.