Livia Gollancz, former governing director of publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd., died March 29, the Bookseller reported. She was 97. Succeeding her father as company CEO after his death in 1967, she continued in the role until her retirement in 1990. The publishing house, which launched under Victor Gollancz in 1928, "was eventually sold, initially to Houghton Mifflin in 1989, and then to Cassell three years later. Along with Orion, it was subsequently acquired by Hachette in 1996 where it now continues as a sci-fi imprint," the Bookseller noted.
In a message to staff, Gollancz chairman Malcolm Edwards remembered Livia Gollancz as "an active editor," responsible for the publisher's crime and thriller list for many years and earlier for its children's list. "She was also one of publishing's memorable eccentrics, who might often turn up at the office in a summer dress and climbing boots. No one who was there will ever forget her appearances at the earliest publishers' pantomimes, particularly the one in which she played Britannia.... I don't know if she was the first woman to run a major British publishing company, but she was certainly among the earliest (just as in the 1940s she had been the first woman to lead a section in a major orchestra)."