Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Craig Virden

I was sorry to hear of Craig Virden's death today. We first met when I was chair of the Margaret Edwards committee and he was Richard Peck's publisher at what is now Random House. Craig was more excited than winner Peck (who got the news while transiting the Panama Canal, so there's that). We weren't close friends but I always found Craig to be genuine and honest and contagiously engaged--enthusiastic. You can read his blog postings from the recent Bologna book fair to get a real sense of his voice.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I never worked directly with Craig and yet I've known him as long as I've been in publishing, because he was one of those life forces whom everyone knows. He always made me laugh, and he always had something smart to say. To me, it feels like he's been ripped from our lives.

I have a couple of Craig stories that seem like the right kind of thing for this blog. I remember Craig speaking at Robert Cormier's memorial service. Craig talked about telling Cormier that he and his wife, Nancy, had made the decision to send their son to a Catholic prep school. "My God," Cormier replied "Your not going to make him sell the chocolates, are you?"

Craig also told me that as a young agent he wrote a letter to Patricia MacLachlan about a manuscript she submitted to Curtis Brown. Within the manuscript there was a brief bit about a mail-order wife. Craig wrote a long editorial letter that included the line (as I remember it) "You know, that character of the mail-order wife is interesting. You might want to do something with her."