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Anthony Werner © The People's Book Prize

Anthony Werner who was a GCGI Senior Ambassador, GCGI Board of Advisors, a graduate of Cape Town and Oxford Universities, and managing director of Shepheard-Walwyn (Publishers). He was also a founding publisher of The People’s Book Prize in 2009. At their 10th anniversary awards ceremony in 2019 he won Best Publisher. Photo: Anthony Werner, The People's Book Prize

It is with the greatest sadness that I heard of the passing of one of my dearest friends, Anthony Werner, who had led Shepheard-Walwyn Publishers for over 40 years.

Quoting Tracey Kerrigan, marketing manager at Shepheard-Walwyn, Anthony was “a wise and knowledgeable gentleman and a great supporter of literature. He dedicated his life to publishing innovative and thought-provoking books to improve the life of our society and to move our society into a more positive place. He will be greatly missed by his family, colleagues, authors and others in our industry. His legacy will live on in the books and ideas that he championed.”

I met Anthony first in the early 2000s. This is how I had described that moment in a Blog I had written in 2014:

‘In my journey and search for wisdom, I have been extremely blessed with finding some wonderful friends, friends that have inspired me and have made me a happier, and I hope, a better person. I thank them all for who I am and what I do. One of those friends is Anthony Werner, Editor-in-Chief, Shepheard-Walwyn Publishers (SWP), London.

Whilst at Plater College in Oxford in the early 2000s, studying for a diploma in pastoral theology, in my quest and search for life’s bigger picture, I happened to see an advertisement for one of SWP’s titles, The Natural Economy in The Tablet. Anthony had quoted a remarkable statement from the book:

‘A true grasp of how the economy should be constituted shows it to be a thing of harmony and beauty, all its parts cooperating for the common good, and its inbuilt laws distributing benefits equitably.’

This must have struck a chord with me, because I immediately ordered a copy. Having read it, I ordered two or three more titles published by (SWP) and then, some months later I went to London to see Anthony in person. I opened my heart to him. I told Anthony that, despite having taught economics for over twenty years, I was unaware that such a body of knowledge existed.

We chatted and chatted for a long time. I left his office as a different man and a different economist. A year or so later, I then sent Anthony a manuscript, the fruit of my new thinking about economics. Anthony published it in 2002 as Globalisation for the Common Good.

Anthony then published other titles by me, including: Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Globalisation for the Common Good (2003), Promoting the Common Good (with Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, 2005), and A non-Violent Path to Conflict Resolution and Peace Building (Co-authored, 2008).

Over the years I have hugely benefited from Anthony’s wisdom, insight, vision and friendship. He has truly been a source of inspiration to me. I am also delighted that he is a GCGI Senior Ambassador and is one our GCGI Board of Advisors.

It is with pleasure and honour that I recommend Shepheard-Walwyn Publishers, a publisher with purpose.’- Shepheard-Walwyn: A Publisher for the Common Good

Moreover, Anthony was instrumental in the close and fruitful relationship that the GCGI formed with the School of Economic Science, which resulted in four major international Joint Conferences (2012, Waterperry House {WPH}), (2014, WPH), (2016, WPH) and (2018, LUCCA). 

Ethical Economics and Social Justice was Anthony’s passion and commitment. This is how he reflected on his thoughts on ‘A Principled Approach to Economics’ at Rhodes Forum in 2012:

Anthony Werner: A Principled Approach to Economics

Then a year later in 2013, Anthony further expanded on his ideas and vision on Ethical Economics in a Blog he had written for the GCGI:

My Guest Blogger Anthony Werner: Ethical Economics

See also: Anthony Werner - Publisher with a Purpose

I am also delighted that I introduced another wonderful friend of mine, Prof. Fr. Peter Milward to Anthony. The fruit of their friendship and cooperation was the book that Anthony published in 2006 on a subject very close to my heart: What is a University?

RIP my friend and wise teacher Anthony and thank you for the generosity and  kindness in friendship, as well as the wonderful times we had in dialoguing and conversing together.

I can only say I have lost a good friend and comrade. I am praying in my own way for my friend, may God grant Anthony eternal rest; he was, in the old idiom, a lovely man, who, if required, may still be a peacemaker in heaven.

PS: Forever grateful for the gift of welcoming Anthony to Coventry and to our home on 14 September 2019

In late August 2019, I had a phone call from Anthony, telling me that he had recently been diagnosed with the debilitating disease, parkinson’s. He told me how much he would like to come to Coventry,  see the Cathedral and visit our home. 

My wife, Annie and I were delighted to oblige and on 14 September we welcomed Anthony to Coventry and our home. We had a tour of the Cathedral and then had one of his favourite Persian dishes for lunch. We conversed, chatted and laughed together. This was the last time we saw Anthony and we will cherish that day forever.  Below, you can see a few photos of that day: