News from Usborne March 2023
It is with much sadness that Usborne announces that our much-loved founder and chairman, Peter Usborne CBE, died suddenly but peacefully this morning, Thursday 30th March 2023. He was surrounded by his family.
Peter was, in the truest sense of the word, a genius – his brilliance was matched only by his determination to make books accessible to all children. This determination was fuelled by his passion for ‘doing things better’ than any other children’s book publisher, matched with a child-like energy and curiosity that made him light up every room he stepped into.
He was an exceptional publisher, an inspirational leader and a very kind, generous man who will be sorely missed by everyone who was lucky enough to know him.
Peter, who was 85 ½, leaves a wife, Wendy, children Nicola and Martin, and five beloved grandchildren.
In a statement this morning, Nicola Usborne, managing director and Peter’s daughter said:
“I am heartbroken that my beloved dad died suddenly this morning. We will miss him more than I can say. He was a brilliant, ever curious, ever enthusiastic man – who was also very kind, very generous and honourable and principled to his core. He was the best dad I could imagine.
He always joked that he intended never to die, and we all hoped he’d have many more years. We take some solace in the fact that he had such a very full life right up until the end. He was so proud to pick up his CBE recently at Windsor Castle; he loved every minute of the Bologna book fair and Usborne’s 50th anniversary party with so many long-standing customers; he was thrilled at a recent fiction buy.
He spent his very last day yesterday in the office in a whole day meeting with HarperCollins U.S. talking about the US trade channel expansion that he was so excited by. He had travelled into his beloved office by tube – as he always did. He was living his life as he always wanted to. He never ever understood why anyone would want to retire, and he would have been so pleased that he never, even remotely, did.
My dad was incredibly proud of everyone who works at Usborne, which includes many long-standing members of staff. He made clear that any award he was given was owed to all at Usborne and he read every book cover to cover.
Dad was also immensely proud of the charity he co-founded, the Usborne Foundation. Giving back was enormously important to him.
The company and all the staff meant so much to him. Irrespective of length of service my dad was a huge influence on Usborne and we’re all feeling his loss hugely.
I feel very lucky to have had a number of years learning from my dad about how he felt Usborne should be run. I will do my absolute best to keep his remarkable legacy alive as we take Usborne forward. My dad left very clear, indelible tracks for us to follow. It was his greatest wish that Usborne would keep on pushing forward, even ultimately without him.
My dad, Peter Usborne, always said that he’d had the absolute best life, and that publishing for children for 50 years was the greatest privilege he could imagine.”
Nicola Usborne is taking time to be with her family. Many of Peter’s friends and colleagues have very kindly asked what they could send in remembrance of Peter. If people would like to help further the work of the Usborne Foundation, which supports children's literacy and other initiatives, they can donate here.