Pam Royds on
with Sally Christie, children’s author and daughter of Philippa Pearce.
I was just twenty two when I first met Pam Royds, a year after this photo was taken. Pam was the children’s book editor at Andre Deutsch and she was working with me on my first picture book, The Emperor’s Singing Bird. Not having known any editor other than Pam, I took for granted the two decades that I enjoyed her kind and intelligent guidance, believing all editors to be like her – nurturing and patient; allowing an author/illustrator to make mistakes and develop.
I accepted as normal, back in 1972, the invitation to come to her house for a bath and breakfast when I stepped off the overnight bus from
Edinburgh for our very first
editorial meeting at the Deutsch office in Great Russell Street. I didn’t argue, when my
first child was born and Pam wouldn’t allow me to take part in the wonderful Book Train
event, saying I should be at home feeding the baby. And at the various awards
ceremonies, over subsequent years, Pam was always by my side, giving advice on how to lose gracefully and pointing out the authors behaving badly when
they didn’t win.
It was a sad day when Andre Deutsch sold their children’s list to Scholastic in the early 1990s but Pam made sure she was there helping her authors and illustrators make the transition. At my first meeting with my new Scholastic editor, Pam was hovering within earshot and when the meeting took a turn for the worse and the Scholastic editor said that, after all, he would not be taking me out for lunch, I remember Pam emerging forcefully from her office and saying, “Well if you won’t, I will,” and marching me off.
Oh dear, how naïve I’d been to believe all editors were like Pam; that all publishing houses were like Andre Deutsch.
And now she's gone: a beloved friend and much missed editor.