Robyn Sisman dies

Robyn Sisman dies

Publisher and novelist Robyn Sisman has died following a battle with cancer.

Sisman, who died peacefully on 20th May, was born in 1955 in Los Angeles and began her career in publishing at Oxford University Press, where she worked first as a secretary "but was so bad that they made me an editor".

She later became an editorial director at J M Dent and created two publishing imprints - Everyman Fiction, a list of contemporary fiction; and a classic crime line, which included writers such as Nicholas Blake (Cecil Day-Lewis), Margery Allingham, and Kingsley Amis.  

Sisman then joined Hutchinson, part of the Random House group, via a stint at the newly established UK arm of Simon & Schuster. There she nurtured a young political journalist, Robert Harris, who had come up with an “intriguing idea for a wartime novel with a twist”. Harris’ Fatherland was published in May 1992.

Sisman’s career as a writer began with her debut novel, Special Relationship, published in 1995 by Heinemann. She wrote five other romantic comedies, Just Friends (Penguin), Perfect Strangers (Penguin), Weekend in Paris (Penguin), A Hollywood Ending (Orion) and The Perfect Couple? (Orion).

Sisman met and married fellow editor and writer, Adam Sisman, while at Oxford University. They have two daughters, Flora and Charlotte.

Imogen Taylor, publishing director at Tinder Press & Headline, said: “Robyn was fiercely private, true to herself and others, independent yet tremendously loyal and loving. She was courageous and fearless to the end, revealing her serious ill heath to only a handful of close friends. She was extremely sharp and funny, brilliant at many things (and also hopeless at others, including map reading and giving directions). She inspired much joy and laughter in the lives of her family and her many friends, and she will be desperately missed.”