R.I.P. Colin Harvey

I got a phone call yesterday morning from Jo Hall letting me know that Colin Harvey had suffered a massive stroke. We’ve all been keeping our hopes up here in the West Country, but sadly Colin passed away in the night. He will leave a very big hole in the local community.

Colin is best know for the two novels, Winter Song and Damage Time that he published through Angry Robot. He was one of the first people to be published by the company. You can read Marco’s obituary, and comments from other Angry Robot authors, here.

Locally, however, Colin is at least as well known for the work that he did for others. He was one of the driving forces behind the founding of BristolCon. He was always encouraging other writers, and I know he’ll be particularly missed by Gareth L. Powell. Gareth has a novel, The Recollection, out with Solaris this month — his first from a major publisher — and Colin’s absence from the launch event at Forbidden Planet Bristol on the 25th is going to be very obvious to us all.

Colin’s favourite way of encouraging and helping other writers was to edit anthologies. As well as Dark Spires, he did a couple with Swimming Kanagaroo, and was working on one for Aeon. This sort of thing doesn’t make a lot of money, but it does make a lot of people very happy. I’ll always be grateful to Colin for providing me with a fine book to get Wizard’s Tower started, and there will be many writers who will be remembering him for getting their stories into print.

I’ve not yet spoken to Colin’s wife, Kate, over this. Gareth has been our main point of contact. In his brief announcement of Colin’s death, he suggests that any condolences be sent via Colin’s agent, John Berlyne, at Zeno. I know John very well and I’ll be dropping him a note as soon as I have published this post to see what can be done.

Update: John (who has been on his way to Reno) emailed back to say that Zeno only subcontracted UK work on rights and he’s had no contact with Colin’s family. My apologies to John for any embarrassment I may have caused. I shall try to find someone else who can act as a conduit for condolences.

Update 2: Condolences can be passed on via Dindy Robinson at Swimming Kangaroo (see comment below).

I have also been in touch with Bob Nielson at Aeon. I’ll do a proper business post later, but now is not the time.

It is usual in obituaries to talk about the life of the deceased. I didn’t know Colin well enough to do that. But I was fortunate enough to interview him for Salon Futura last year. If you never met Colin, and would like to know more, you can see him talk about his career and writing here.

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9 Responses to R.I.P. Colin Harvey

  1. Donna says:

    Dear Cheryl

    Thank you for posting this. It is a sad loss. I’m glad I met him and got to know him the little I did.



  2. Oh, no! I saw the news about the stroke yesterday. He was a lovely man and a fine writer. It’s a great loss to British sff.

  3. Ray Cluley says:

    Sad news indeed – Colin provided a great deal of encouragement for me as a writer and I enjoyed reading his work. I’m really rather stunned.

  4. God, that’s so sad.

    So sad…

  5. George Berger says:

    This is quite distressing. While hardly knowing me, Colin befriended me in a unique and very personal way. It was wonderful that he did this, it affected me considerably, and he and I had been in touch since then. We planned to meet at Eastercon, but I could not attend. My thoughts go to his family; my dismay is intense.

  6. Charlie Allery says:

    That’s a shock. Colin had so much energy and was kind enough to invite me to submit for his Killers anthology based on our connection from Critters. He was such an enthusiastic person who always seemed to have more plans on the go. I had envisaged a growing career of editing as well as writing for him. Such a shame. He will be fondly remembered.

  7. Hi Cheryl,
    I am Colin’s publisher at Swimming Kangaroo Books and I will be happy to pass along condolences to Kate. Colin was a witty, caring and gracious man. He and I became good friends over the years and I am already missing him terribly.
    Dindy Robinson

  8. I don’t know what to say. I have only just heard the news. I got to know Colin through the BFS cons and the Phoenix Convention and we became friends; shared meals, shared bad jokes. He will be missed, that’s for sure. He was a great guy.


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