The University of the West Indies Press (UWI Press) joins the Association of University Presses in remembering Mark Saunders.
UWI Press general manager Dr Joseph B. Powell said, “Like all of his peers, I was completely shocked and shaken by the news of Mark Saunders’s passing. We were close to the same age; Mark could have been my older brother. My assessment was that he was certainly as fit as I am, if not more so. This is a painful reminder of how fragile life can be, and to live life to the fullest each day, something I believe Mark absolutely accomplished.
“I only knew Mark for a few years, and I remember exactly how and why I made his acquaintance. As a newly minted press director at a small press (the UWI Press) three years ago, I was eager to learn what was happening at the cutting edge in publishing. I was particularly eager to expand the UWI Press into digital publishing and digitally curating valuable Caribbean content. Of course, it did not take long to discover UVA Press’s impressive Rotunda digital scholarship collections. So I emailed Mark out of the blue and explained I would be in Charlottesville around the US presidential election day, and I would enjoy meeting him and learning more about Rotunda and other forms of digital scholarship.
“Characteristically collegial Mark, he promptly agreed to our meeting and offered any advice he could going forward. Immediately upon our meeting, I could see that if there was such a thing as publishing genius, Mark possessed it. There was much to learn from this man. Consequently, I sought every opportunity possible for myself and staff at the UWI Press to learn from Mark and his phenomenal team at UVA. This has included a staff visit of our marketing team, and a director’s visiting fellowship made possible through the AUP. In the short span of three years, the UWI Press has been able to learn from UVA via Mark’s guidance and put into action Caribbean versions of the innovative processes for digital scholarship at UVA Press. Even now as I write this tribute, we embark on digital projects that have their origin in the discussions I had with Mark.
“From 2016 up to his recent passing, I had several chances to catch up with Mark in both professional and personal capacities. As most have written about Mark already, it was easy to connect with Mark, who possessed the rare mixture of qualities that allows one to be a successful publisher and author. He has earned the admiration of his peers and he has helped others along the way. Mark struck me as genuine, well-grounded, and an extremely careful listener. I learned much from Mark in barely three years’ time, and I had hoped to learn more. He was a gracious host during my time at UVA, and judging from the frequency of references to his family, he was a dedicated and proud father and husband. I will miss Mark tremendously, and the future chances of casual dinners and drinks. I am a better publisher having known Mark for the short time I was granted.”
Karen Smith, marketing and sales assistant adds, “Mark did not hesitate to host me for the AUP Residency Program in November 2017. My residency was pleasant and useful, and he ensured I had ‘open access’. May God strengthen the University of Virginia Press family during this difficult time. . . . Hugs!!!”
We honour our past and present staff and interns who have contributed to the growth and development of the UWI Press as the Caribbean’s premier scholarly book publisher.