I heard some tragic news yesterday and it is my sad task to pass this on to you now. Gill Shutt died suddenly on Monday, 19th August.
To many of you who follow Greyhart Press and our offshoot, The Repository of Imagination, Gill was one of our authors. In fact, she was much more than that. To me she was a driving force of imagination, a sounding board, editor, ally, and a friend. Several of our published books were initially read and commented on by Gill. Publishing, though, is sometimes like an iceberg: there is a lot of work that goes on under the water that readers never see. Gill was always ready to help out with these unglamorous tasks and read many manuscripts that we decided not to publish, which is a vital task for any publisher.
My first contact with Gill was when she submitted some poetry. We were closed to submissions but Gill sent her poetry anyway. We didn’t publish poetry, but that didn’t put Gill off. I read her manuscript, fully intending to reject it, but I wanted to skim the first few pages so I could at least give some constructive and encouraging feedback along with my rejection. Of course, I kept on reading, right to the end. I eventually published her manuscript under the title, The Legends of Light.
The book Gill was most eager to get published was her collection of short fantasy and science fiction stories she called Alien Legends. One of the stories mentioned an alien organisation called the Repository of Imagination. I loved that concept. I wanted that to be the glue that bound her collection, and I wanted to make the Repository real. I remember a slightly nervous phone call where I tried to persuade her to rework every story in the book to fit with this expanded concept. Gill was unsurprisingly reluctant at first but soon took to her task with great enthusiasm. She had that kind of mind that could leap and bound to new heights. Not every writer is capable of that. Oh, no! I knew then that she was a writer that could go on to great success.
There was so much more to come. Gill’s poetry was widely published and she was looking forward to being a part of the NewCon Press launch event for the Looking Landwards anthology in October which carried a story from her.
Her current project was to act as editor for an anthology she called Weird Legends, a task I know she was relishing.
I was privileged to read Gill’s unpublished novel about the Welsh schoolboy who invents an alternate reality machine in science class, the stories of Altair Jones, Welsh space adventurer, and her collection of children’s horror stories. Her stories could be gritty, were always inventive, and carried a unique charm.
And Gill achieved all this despite suffering terribly from fibromyalgia. She would often talk of the ‘fibro fog’ that clouded her writing at times, but she persevered through all that.
But of course there was more to Gill than being a writer and editor. She often talked about her family. When we discussed possible stories for the Repository of Imagination, her benchmark was always ‘would I want my children to read this?’ And it is with her family that my thoughts and condolences are during this difficult time.
Goodbye, Gill. I miss you already.
Tim C. Taylor – Publisher, Greyhart Press and Repository of Imagination
[‘story sphere’ image copyright Dragonfly22, ‘lost world’ image copyright Slava Gerj]
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This is tremendously sad news, Tim, and the shock runs through all of us. Gill was a pioneer and mentor to me, with the kindest and most generous heart. She was also a wonderful writer. I loved Legends of the Light, and the daring places she would imagine, the most exciting–your co-project of Repository of Imagination. The world is in desperate need of such a place, and I feel in my heart that Gill is still doing the work to bring it about and make it thrive, only in ways we can’t see so clearly. My deepest condolences to Gill’s family and friends. Thank you for letting us know.
So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Tim. I never had the pleasure of getting to know Gill, but I’d read some of her work and she was clearly a unique and imaginative writer. Deepest condolences from Ruby and myself.
I enjoyed chatting with Gill on Linkedin over the years and was helped by her personal advice by email. It’s amazing how someone you never met can seem like a friend if only through a few generous actions. I am sorry I will not have the chance to meet her in person.
Shocked and saddened to hear of Gill’s passing. I was only just getting to know her and loved her energy and fierce imagination. My deepest condolences to her family and friends.
I am very sorry to hear of Gill’s passing. We had emailed back and forth a number of times, because she was going to include one of my short stories in her new book. In the short time I knew her, we began to be friends. I’ve read two of her books, and I enjoyed her imagination and unique look at things. I will miss her.
I want to say how sorry I am to hear about Gill. I’m still reeling from the news as we were in touch only last week. She had kindly agreed to Beta Read my YA novel “Clear Gold” and had sent it back with some really positive comments.
What was especially painful was that when I had asked her if she would read the book she replied that she “had time” something which cruelly proved not to be so. I’ve never met Gill but even in our brief correspondence her kindness to a new author came across, even to the point of saying that if she could think of any Indie press that might be interested she would let me know. The time and trouble she was prepared to take is something that I will never forget,
Yes, that’s Gill all over. Always wanting to help with the practical details 🙂
Oh my, I am so sorry to hear about Gill. She was one of the first writers I met on LinkedIn–one of the reasons I stayed. She was the one who let me know you could publish on CreateSpace for free. She always had useful and positive comments. I will miss her too.
A wonderful post to a lovely lady – a real shock, my thoughts and condolences with her family and friends. Terrible news.
I had the privilege of being a member in one of the online writing groups with Gil. To say that she was remarkable lady does not express how helpful to the people in our group. She had a dry humor that I so enjoyed and more than that she was a writer who was more than willing to pass it on.
My condolences and prayers go out to the family.
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Sorry to hear this sad news. I never met Gill, but she sounds like a remarkable person.
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Thought are with you her colleagues and of course her friends and family at this time
Is there any chance of continuing with the book? I have kept my story for her on hold so far.
Jane, I’m sorry we haven’t managed to make contact with you. We will not be proceeding with Gill’s Weird Legends anthology. I have an open offer to any author working with Gill on Weird Legends to publish their story on the Repository of Imagination website (http://theroi.org/2013/04/08/weird-legends-submissions/ ) if they wish, although doing so would make it more difficult to place the story elsewhere. I apologize for any inconvenience.