Ralph M. Vicinanza, 1950-2010

Legendary literary agent Ralph Vicinanza, 60, died without warning in his sleep on September 25, 2010 at his home in Old Brookville NY, from what was apparently a cerebral aneurysm. For over two decades, Vicinanza earned worldwide recognition for his vision in opening the international marketplace for US authors, predominantly in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Born August 8, 1950 and raised in the Bronx, Vincinanza graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and later studied at Fordham University, graduating from City College of New York. He started out in publishing at the Scott Meredith Agency, working with authors including Norman Mailer, Carl Sagan, and Philip K. Dick, and quickly became known as “Mr. Foreign Rights” for his work in creating a global marketplace for American books.  He opened the Ralph M. Vicinanza Ltd. agency in 1987, and was soon working with an ever-expanding roster of names: Stephen King, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Silverberg, Connie Willis, Robin Hobb, to name a few. The agency grew in the 1990s, as longtime foreign rights associate Christopher Lotts began handling his own clients and Christopher Schelling joined as full agent.

Vicinanza was a much-loved and respected friend and colleague. He is survived by his mother Louise Manganiello, sister Louise Billie, partner Terrance Rooney, and many nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles. A memorial service is planned for Friday, October 1.

A more-detailed obituary and appreciations of Vicinanza will appear in the November 2010 issue of Locus. Thanks to Christopher Schelling for providing an obituary. [revised post]