We just got word that a writer who has given us some of our best, most memorable stories has passed away. I guess we shouldn’t be shocked. Edward Readicker-Henderson had been told many times that he didn’t have much time left. Yet he kept making the most of the time he had. He said that travel kept him alive. It gave him something to live for.
As an editor, I loved working with Edward because he was honest in the most important way for a writer: emotionally honest. If he didn’t like something—like the city of Amsterdam—he said so. (He would eventually come around on that one.) If something troubled him, he admitted it, and if he felt joy, he didn’t hold back. Everything he wrote was real and deeply felt.
He also worked hard. He cared about every word of every sentence and took pride in his craft. Yet he was not too proud to be open to suggestions on how a story could be improved. It was always fun to go back and forth with him over a phrase because I knew and he knew that we both wanted to get it just right. In that way in particular, he was an editor’s dream.
Also, he was funny. And funny writers are a rare gift we should all cherish.
Although I worked with him over many years, I only met him face to face a couple of times. I can’t claim to have known him deeply. But he revealed so much of himself in his writing, I feel like I have a sense of his soul. He seemed to move through the world openly, ready at all times to be amused or disgusted by it, but ultimately, always awed by the variety of its wonders. Not a bad way to live. Thanks, Edward. We’ll miss you.
>>Next: Here are the features Edward wrote for AFAR:
And here’s his great TED talk, which just might change your life.