With sadness we report that Derek Parker Royal, who founded the Philip Roth Society in 2002 and also volunteered to serve on the first board of directors for The John Updike Society when it began in 2009, died on July 11, 2019 at the age of 55 as a result of coronary disease.
As current Philip Roth Society president Matthew Shipe wrote in his July 15, 2019 announcement, Derek, who also served as the first executive editor of the journal Philip Roth Studies, was “a kind, energetic, and generous scholar, who brought in many younger scholars into Roth Studies. Derek was a deeply astute critic and writer, and his intelligence and enthusiasm for not only Roth but also comics, music, and films will be deeply missed. He is survived by his wife Amanda and his two children”—who have our deepest sympathies.
Although Derek was too over-committed to remain on the Updike Society board for long, we appreciated his service, his willingness to share things he learned from founding a single author society, and his genial “let’s do this” attitude.
The Philip Roth Society also posted a “Tribute to Derek Parker Royal” that was written by Robert Paul Lamb, who taught Derek in graduate school.