Andrew Mason 1950-2009
Writer, editor and literary figure Andrew Mason died in Wellington on 11 January 2009. He was probably best known as literary editor of the New Zealand Listener, a position he held from 1981-1991, during the magazine’s heyday. He went on to edit books for Bridget Williams Books and Auckland University Press before leaving to teach English in Poland. He was several times a New Zealand Book Awards judge, as well as a member of QEII Arts Council of New Zealand, and chairman of the QEII Arts Council Literature Committee.
While at the Listener, he helped launch several literary careers. Some time after he had published several Shonagh Koea short stories, she travelled to Wellington from New Plymouth and went to his office to give him some of her home-made shortbread. There, she discovered that “the very august literary editor who had made me into quite a well-known short story writer was actually an extremely handsome young man. Andrew’s features were so beautiful, even, that I always thought of them subsequently as like those depicted on ancient Roman coins. His courtesy and charm were similarly wonderful.” Former Listener colleague Denis Welch notes simply that Andrew was “the finest editor I’ve ever known”.