Ralph Vicinanza

Tomorrow morning, very early, I will fly off to New York for Ralph’s funeral. 

For over 15 years, Ralph was my literary agent.  He died very suddenly last weekend, at the age of 60, of a brain aneurysm.  Gone, just like that.

Ralph Vicinanza changed my life.  There are not enough pixels for me to explain that statement completely.  But a rough summary is that Ralph was responsible for the ‘creation’ of Robin Hobb.  If he had not become my agent, I do not think I would have written the books I wrote, or if I did, that they would have reached the audience they reached.  I could always count on his honesty, in all aspects of my writing life.

So, here I am, taking time in the middle of my very busy life, to go to his funeral.  And I am angry with myself, because I never just decided to take time out from my very busy life to fly to New York when he was alive.  Our face to face meetings were very few, usually when a convention or other gathering brought us together. 

Most of our work was conducted via telephone calls and email.  But I really enjoyed the times when we got to talk face to face.  So why didn’t I go out of my way to create more of those?

So, do me a favor.  Think of those people you really enjoy and make more time for them.

I didn’t much like the last piece of advice he gave me.  And I was putting off discussing it with him because, in retrospect, I already knew he was right and he would ‘win’ the discussion.  Now I wish I’d called.

But, as I ended up doing with every piece of advice he gave me, I will be following it.  More on that in a few months.


13 Responses to Ralph Vicinanza

  1. he never minded giving frank advice, did he? he was just something incredible.

    I’ll miss him terribly. the world doesn’t produce souls like his very often.

  2. in the midst of grief and regret, perspective and priorities crystalize, Thank God he gave you what he did to enable your wonderful work, so sorry you lost someone, you have such a special place in my heart, lisa xxxxx

  3. From what I understand you to be saying this man, Mr. Vicinanza, was a huge part of your life (literary of course) and you will miss him greatly. I can’t understand exactly what you are feeling but I do hope that you do not take it too hard on yourself; and I would like to offer my condolences.

  4. If there hadn’t been any of your great Robin Hobb books in the world if it had not been for him, then I feel I owe a lot to that man too for all the wonderful moments I had reading them all and send my deepest respect to his memory and shall not postpone meeting up with dear ones in the future on your advice.

  5. Dear Mrs. Hobb, though it feels odd to condole not the family but a professional relation for her bereavement, it also feels appropriate. I just came over to your website for the first time from George Martin’s blog where he also wrote with grief about Mr. Vicinanza’s sudden demise. It is strange to realize that one man was midwife for the successive birth of two literary creations I really love and that I cannot hope to know how big a part he played in their inception and gestation. I wish you and the other clients of his that in due time you will find someone as gifted to play this role in your writer’s life.

    A part of the gratitude and joy I feel when I read your books has always been owed to him, it seems. I wish to convey it to you to pass it on accordingly.

    Thank you and godspeed,


  6. I’m so sorry for your loss. We’ve just lost a couple of people close to us and what you say about taking time to connect while we have the chance is so true. From what I’ve read about Ralph Vicinanza he was a great agent and will be widely missed.

  7. Dear Robin Hobb,

    this is my first writing here and I feel a bit uneasy, because I start up on such a sad matter.
    I feel I owe Ralph Vicinanza my respect and gratitude for being responsible for „creating“ Robin Hobb, this marvellous story-teller, whose books I love so much. I can’t say it better than Matthias did, that a part of the gratitude and joy I feel reading your books seems to be owed to him. Please take my condolence. I’m glad, you are home safe and sound and wish you all the best. Take care !

  8. I can only say, I’m glad he did what he did… and I’m sure he was an ace in his job. In a way he had a great part in the “birth” of my favourite writer. I can only be grateful about that.

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. Your books are incredible, and if he had any part in what you have created, he must have been a very special man. I hope you are ok.