Ron Heapy, former Oxford University Press children's publisher, has died, the Bookseller reported. He was 82. OUP described him as "one of the most influential editors of British children's books that you've never heard of.... And because since the war U.K. publishing has become, and remains, perhaps the world's leading maker and exporter of children's books and stories, you can make a case for Ron quietly being one of the most influential editors in the world."
Heapy began working for OUP in 1959, becoming deputy manager of the Karachi office and manager in Hong Kong, before returning to the U.K. to work on the Oxford African Encyclopedia in London and in the educational department in Oxford. He began running the Oxford children's book list in 1979, "taking the department by the scruff of its neck to build a commercially and critically successful list, which produced numerous prizewinners, and many books which remain bestsellers to this day," OUP noted.
He officially retired in 2000, though for years after remained "a frequent presence in the OUP offices--generous, inspiring and mildly anarchic--dispensing wit and wisdom to the various children's editors."