A tribute to Intellect Founder Masoud Yazdani

It is with deepest sadness that we announce the passing of Masoud Yazdani, founder and publisher of Intellect. Masoud died on Tuesday 18 February, aged 58, following a year-long battle with cancer. Masoud is survived by his wife, Ayshe, and 3 children, Mina, Shirin and Omid.
Masoud had a life-long interest in publishing, but it was in 1984, following a brief but life-changing apprenticeship with Walter J Johnson, founder of Academic Press and Ablex Publishing, that he first launched himself into the world of academic publishing with the founding of Intellect and the academic journal Artificial Intelligence Review.
Masoud and I have been great friends for just about 30 years. We first met in the mid-1980s when we both worked for a small innovative business in Oxford working in the, then, new and exciting field of computing called Artificial Intelligence. We became immediate friends, and built a friendship that has lasted to this day, regularly nurtured by our mutual love of playing squash and eating out in Indian restaurants. I have particularly fond memories of those early days, the two of us spending many hours in his spare bedroom stuffing envelopes with journals, sticking stamps and posting them to the subscribers. From those small beginnings, Masoud's intelligence, creativity and energy, and his constant readiness to take risks, and his desire to be different, has transformed Intellect into the outstanding company we know today, providing an indispensable platform for publishing emerging and important original thinking in Film Studies, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Cultural Studies, and Communication & Media.
But Masoud was not just a brilliant academic entrepreneur; he was also a great mentor and role model. Those who knew him will always tell you of his kindness and generosity. He was always willing to go to great lengths to help those in need, to provide support, to encourage, or to act as an advocate.
Masoud can never be replaced, but we at Intellect intend to keep his spirit and memory alive by building on his legacy, upholding his ethos so that Intellect continues to be a company he would be proud of.
Those of you who knew Masoud, either as a friend, colleague, or both, are invited to email holly@intellectbooks.com, who will then post them into the comments section below. 

Mark Lewis
Managing Director 




Nearly 20 years ago I stumbled on a book by a publisher I knew nothing about. Being a bit of book detective, I searched out its origins and found Masoud and Intellect. What started with curiosity turned quickly into admiration. I started telling people to take a look, perhaps with a slight sense that something as personal and innovative as it was might not survive. But it did. When a colleague in I were thinking of launching a journal about 10 years later it was easy to know where to turn. Then in collaboration with another colleague, we turned again a few years later. By then I felt there was sort of a movement happening, behind which was Masoud, and indeed a sense of Masoud's vision as much as Masoud himself. Later, asked to help set up another journal at Intellect the answer was always going to be"yes", given that being part of the vision seemed to be about empowerment and embracing possibility. Later, we published a book with Intellect, I wrote now and then for a magazine, and so it went. It all so clearly came back to an innovator and an explorer and a person who was also an enabler. I wish I'd spoken to Masoud more often, we only ever had a conversation maybe a dozen times over the years, but somehow conversations took place in other important ways, conversations about creativity and about possibility. Here's to him, and to all he created.

Prof. Graeme Harper FRGS FRAI FRSA
Dean, The Honors College
Oakland University,
Michigan, USA


I awoke this morning to the very sad and unfathomable news that Masoud Yazdani, Chairman of Intellect Press has died. I am in complete awe of the incredible contribution and vision Masoud brought to academic publishing in film, media, the arts. He was a man of such dedication, passion and commitment to supporting original thinking. He was the man brave enough to publish my first monograph on the obscure German filmmaker Werner Schroeter (who also left us too soon) and also placed his faith in me to stand at the helm of two volumes of the Directory of World Cinema: Germany. The world is a richer place for Masoud's presence and I know he will be deeply, deeply missed. My sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, colleagues, authors and editors and also to every single reader of every single book and journal published by Intellect. With deep, heartfelt respect, may you rest in peace Masoud, Michelle. Please also pass on my condolences to his family.

Michelle Langford


I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Masoud Yazdani, Chairman of Intellect Books. I have worked regularly with Intellect since 2008, and received many wonderful publishing opportunities due to Masoud's commitment to the field of film studies. Masoud was always generous with his time and supportive of a range of interdisciplinary projects that may not have otherwise found a suitable home. During a particularly difficult period when I was in-between teaching posts, he kindly invited me to the Bristol office for the day and discussed many aspects of academic publishing, providing encouragement at a critical juncture in my career. His dedication to print media and digital frontiers will be greatly missed. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Masoud's family, the staff at Intellect, and all authors/editors who had the pleasure of working with him. Rest in peace Masoud.

John Berra


Masoud and I have known one another and worked together for over thirty years. We organised the first CALL conference together and I believe one of my books was the first publication by Intellect. I am certain that we shall all miss him greatly. My thoughts are also with his family.

Keith Cameron


Masoud told me he wasn't bothered about having a legacy, but I think we know that he did a lot in his life and that Intellect is a tribute to his energy and creativity.

I am sure all the staff feel the loss.

Robert Hawley


Masoud's passion for disseminating knowledge, his dedication to innovation in publishing, his commitment to education and his enthusiasm for fostering creativity will live on through Intellect's work and ethos. He will be so greatly missed, but we will do our very best to keep his vision alive, and grow and build on the very special thing he created with Intellect.

May Yao


I was always impressed by his intelligence, his principles, and his kindness.  I respected him greatly--both for his work and for how he lived his life. He was a true family man.  The world could use more people like him.  I'll really miss him, as I know you all at Intellect will as well.

There's a hole in the universe . . . .

Please pass on my sympathy to his family and to you all at Intellect, his extended family.

Carol Kasper
Marketing Director
University of Chicago Press


Please accept my deepest sympathies and condolences for the tragic
passing of Masoud Yazdani. I am speechless and find no words to express
my profound sadness nor to comfort all of you who have experienced, as
have I, the tragic disappearance of a most wonderful colleague, a
visionary, and a most kind human being. I wish to extend my deepest
sympathies and condolences to his family as well as to all of you and
hope that in his memory, I can continue the work that meant so much to
him and which he started and so masterfully led. In his memory, I will
work harder and also wish to dedicate my upcoming Intellect publications
to him. I am overwhelmed with grief and sadness at his loss.

My thoughts are with all of you during this most painful time,

Marcelline Block


I am devastated to hear this - Masoud had enormous generosity of spirit and gave me his unconditional support when I was starting my business Transition Tradition as a young graduate. He was an inspiration, showing me possibilities for life and business that I had never previously considered. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time...

Sam Delbaere
Transition Tradition


Although I've been contributing Intellect from some years ago, I didn't meet Mr. Yazdani in person, but I can say in some sense I noticed his soul was so important for this company. Thanks for creating such an interesting publishing company and to all the employees and colleagues. Cheer up to all of them and, specialy, to his family. Rest in peace.

Lorenzo Torres


What a terrible shock, and a genuine loss for the world of academic publishing. I only knew Masoud briefly but in that time he won me over with his infectious energy, his vision, his warmth, and his tremendous disregard for the old rules of publishing. A brilliant man, and a good one too.

David Barker
Publishing Director, Bloomsbury Academic


I never met Masoud in person but heard so many wonderful things about him from colleagues and was very sad to hear of his passing today.   He was truly a gifted publisher and I admired his work very much.   My condolences to his family and everyone at Intellect.

Emma Barker
Managing Editor, Reinvention Journal
University of Warwick


‘In life you will realize there is a role for everyone you meet.

Some will test you,

some will use you,

some will love you

And some will teach you.

But the ones who are truly important are the ones who bring out the best in you. They are the rare and amazing people who remind you why it’s worth it.’

When I read this quote it reminded me instantly of Masoud. For he WAS one of those rare and amazing people who wanted the best for everyone, and for everyone to be the best they could. He certainly brought out the best in me. Such a special, kind, unique and gentle-man. I feel privileged and honoured to have known and worked alongside him for the last seventeen years, from the early days at Earl Richards Road North, when it was just myself and Robin, to the amazing company we know as Intellect today.  Way back in 1997 when I landed a job with Intellect I had no idea how lucky I was going to be having Masoud as my boss, who went on to become a special friend, and what a journey we would travel together through Intellect, being a part of its development and growth – I know now. Fly high dear Masoud. My life was so much richer for having known you. I can never repay the kindness, support and respect you have shown me, but please know that I will do my best for you in carrying on where you left off…. to continue with your ethos, passion and vision…. it’s been – and will continue to be – an absolute pleasure and honour to work for Intellect. I will miss you dearly. Farewell my dear friend.

Julie Strudwick


As Intellect authors, we wish to relay to you and all your colleagues our sympathies and condolences on the passing of Masoud Yazdani. His founding of Intellect Books, a publishing house genuinely interested in original thought and research, was truly inspirational to us and we are sure that his spirit will continue to inform Intellect's work in the future.

Sincere regards
Greg McLaughlin and Stephen Baker


On behalf of the editors of Hospitality & Society, I would like to say how saddened we are by the passing of Masoud and our thoughts go out to his family. At Hospitality & Society, we are very appreciative of Masoud, through Intellect, taking on the new innovative journal and recognise the underlying foresight and willingness to run with an unproven idea which is helping to advance an important area of study. For that we are deeply grateful and appreciative.

Professor Paul Lynch


I am deeply saddened to hear of Masoud’s untimely passing. Scrolling through Facebook and coming across the news unexpectedly, I was stunned. My memories of Masoud are of such a vital, energetic, nurturing person that it’s difficult to process this. Masoud’s vision and insight will be sorely missed by all who knew and worked with him. I personally have greatly appreciated his belief in my unconventional projects, and his unflagging support for the students and newly graduated former students I connected with Intellect for internships: Masoud knew the value of experiential learning and was able, through those type of internships, to seed the publishing field with new and emerging professionals. When Masoud was in Toronto, I could always count on a lively discussion over tea or a sandwich, and I’ll never forget him driving back from an event out of town in an uncharacteristically violent and dangerous rainstorm, over almost impassable roads, to attend one of my book launches. Masoud was an extraordinary person. To his close colleagues and family, I send my sincere condolences for your loss.

Judith Rudakoff


I never met Masoud in person but heard so many wonderful things about him from colleagues and was very sad to hear of his passing today.   He was truly a gifted publisher and I admired his work very much.   My condolences to his family and everyone at Intellect.

Emma Barker
Managing Editor, Reinvention Journal
University of Warwick


I had what now seems like an all too brief opportunity to know Masoud over this past year as he helped my team and I to develop our association's journal, Drama Therapy Review. His vision, knowledge, and skill was apparent as he led us through the evolution of our plan to a publication that we are so proud of. Thank you for providing a way for us to mourn this loss. We send our sympathies to his family at home and his family at Intellect.

Nisha Sajnani


Many have spoken of Masoud's generosity of spirit and I'm proud to be able
to attest to that. While my interactions with Masoud were limited, it was
very plain that he possessed a passion for his mission, and a special
heart and soul. I wish I could have met him in person, but knowing him as
simply and briefly as I did was an absolute honor. He will be greatly
missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and

John Teehan
West Warwick, RI


I am deeply saddened to learn the devastating news for Masoud’s family, friends and colleagues. His demise is an irreparable loss to the international Academic and Publishing community and leaves a void that can never be filled.

Masoud touched many people’s lives and he will be sadly missed. He was a really inspiring figure, I will always remember him as a warm, friendly, close, welcoming person and as an enthusiastic scholar and entrepreneur.

The Editorial Board of Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture would like to pay special tribute to Masoud’s memory. He once wrote:

“Crossings has a special place in my own life as I migrated with my family to England almost forty years ago”

and our thoughts and hearts are with him in his final journey.

Our deepest condolences go to his family.

Dr Elisa Costa-Villaverde
Associate Editor. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture. Intellect Books


What sad news. When we Bristol publishers founded The Bristol Books and Publishers Group in the mid 1990s, Masoud was a founder member, and most generously contributed to the design and content of the first editions of the Bristol Review of Books. He was a man of great warmth, dignity and integrity. His intelligent humanity had a very wide reach - especially back to students in Iran. "Heart speaks to heart" he said to me once, as we coincided in telephoning each other about the new publishing group - a direct translation, I imagine, from Persian.  How many hearts must be speaking to him now.

Catherine Mason


It was such very sad news about Masoud. He was such a visionary and a really special person. He was also a great person to converse with on almost any subject with such a wide ranging intellect - i'll really miss his positive presence on the conference circuit and chatting to him in between sessions. It's a big loss to us all. But his spirit will live on through Intellect and his legacy will be honoured in the continued publication of the journals and books that he nurtured and inspired.

Dr Anne Peirson-Smith
City University of Hong Kong


As I try to absorb this loss of my long time colleague and close young friend, my best solace is to know that I have, over the past years, done what I could to let him know know the respect and affection I felt for him, his life, and his achievements.  Because I knew of his medical danger I rushed prematurely into acknowledgements on the website NLCSA.net.  It does not do the man
justice, but it was the best I could do as a draft.


I prepared for his family a DVD of his 1989 Purdue lecture, (he was young then) as a gift he could give to his 8 year old son, to be an inspiration for the lad in the future.  I also created a collection of materials labeled: Five Pioneers Talk about Learening, AI, and Education: see


The re-publication of the Minsky and Selfridge Lectures on AItopics.org may lead some people to view his presentation of NLCSA.net.

The last time we talked via SKYPE, Masoud said how much he enjoyed my visit to Intellect's Bristol offices in the summer of 2012, how he regretted being overly busy with Intellect's affairs, and how he wished we could spend more time together.  We both knew that would be impossible.

Masoud's life was profoundly religious.  Ethnically, he was Iranian and justifiably proud of the heritage of that great culture.  Religiously, he was of the Bahai, and deeply committed to their global community.  He eschewed all intoxicants, but did not criticize friends who did not share his constraints.  So I believe, out of respect for his pride in Iranian culture and his affection for some of his Irish colleagues, he would not object to my praising him with lines from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as rendered in English by Edward Fitgerald:

"For some we've loved,the loveliest and the best,
 That from his Vintage rolling Time hath pressed..."

Masoud was one of the best, a personable, energetic and brilliant academic entrepreneur, a friend.

He is the sort of man who permits us to feel a bit of pride in being human.

We will miss him.

Robert W. Lawler
Professor Emeritus, Purdue


He was passionate and energetic about the future and has left the company in great shape. His vision and energy were infectious and we will all strive to fulfil his objectives with great determination. Fortunately he instilled his passion and ethos into all of us lucky to have worked with him. It's in that spirit we continue to flourish and grow - and to honour his legacy.

James Campbell


I'm so sorry for this great loss. You must be devastated personally and professionally.

He was a wonderfully vibrant, committed, exceptional person. I know he will be missed.

Judith Rudakoff
York University, Canada


Words seem inadequate to express the sadness I felt when reading your email. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone at Intellect at this time.

Dave Button
4edge Printing


Masoud was a charismatic and truly enterprising person. His ability not only to realize his aspirations but also to inspire others to share and believe in his vision was admirable. I'm grateful for the opportunities he gave me at Intellect and his support of Compass in the early years. The last time I saw Masoud was in Wilmington, NC for a farewell dinner when I left Intellect—we talked about his latest ideas for how to develop and expand the company. He was a careful risk-taker and always demonstrated great willingness to experiment. I will remember him most for his unique determination and dedication to his craft.

It's almost impossible to imagine Intellect without Masoud, but I know the amazing staff who he cared so much about will continue his legacy and build on his successes. My condolences to them and to his family.

Sam Love


I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Masoud. I worked closely with Masoud to launch the Bristol Review of Books some years ago. I will remember him as a man of vision, enthusiasm and generosity. A truly inspirational publisher.


Richard Jones
Tangent Books


I simply knew of him, being a fellow Baha’i

And now I can see by all these comments who he really was.

It is only when a man goes that we know who the man was.

Warmest regards to all of you.

Shawn Khorassani


I am so terribly sorry to learn of Masoud’s passing.  Our industry is blessed with  many very nice people but I can honestly say that Masoud was amongst the nicest people that it has ever been my pleasure to meet and to work with and his loss will be deeply felt by all of those of us in the publishing and bookselling world that knew him.  However, I cannot imagine the sense of loss that you and your colleagues must now be feeling as I know how much you all meant to him and how proud he was of you all and the company that you built together and my thoughts are with you all and also with his family at this very sad time.

Bob Kelly
Gardners Books


It is with great sadness that Film Matters announces the death of Masoud Yazdani, chairman of Intellect – our publisher and dear friend.  It’s never easy to begin referring to someone in the past tense – particularly someone so full of vigor and charm as Masoud.  As we struggle to process his passing, we take comfort in reflecting on the overwhelming impact his life has had on others and, by extension, the world of publishing.  Film Matters certainly wouldn’t exist today, if he hadn’t been willing to take a chance on the project.  Indeed, Masoud gave voice to many people over the years – often saying that his customers were his authors, not his readers – including our undergraduate authors.  These voices will chorus his consequence for years to come.  Film Matters is proud to be a member of the Intellect family, proud to have known Masoud, and proud to be a part of his legacy.  And we will work hard to insure that each issue of Film Matters honors Masoud’s vision and celebrates his enthusiasm for publishing.

Tim & Liza Palmer


It was with great sadness that I heard about Masoud’s death yesterday.

Many others have already paid their tributes to him. My own is that Masoud and I were appointed at Exeter University almost together (me in 1980, he in 1981) in the newly created Department of Computer Science. We jointly edited the “Artificial Intelligence: Human Effects” book in 1984 and co-authored a paper together. I also contributed a chapter to his 1986 book “Artificial Intelligence: Principle and Applications”.

We spent much time together as young academics in a fledgling department, sorting out the world’s problems. He was running a Ford Capri at the time which was continuously failing in different ways as he made his way from Exeter to Brighton at weekends to see his family. One of the fondest memories I have of that time is how he and I ‘squatted’ in empty offices belonging to another department to protest at the lack of space given to our computer science department, against university procedures. It worked: the department was given its own premises shortly afterwards, but only after he and I had received reprimands from senior academic management staff.

I did lose track of Masoud a bit after he moved to UWE, although we would often meet for lunch when he came down to Exeter to help develop his Intellect publishing business. It was through Masoud that I met Walter Johnson, which led to another co-edited book by Mervyn Bennun and me for Ablex in 1991.

He was the most enthusiastic person I have ever met, with great ideas and always challenging himself to move on and up.

I will miss him greatly and am still feeling a bit shocked at hearing the news.  Please forward my deepest condolences to Ayshe and the children.

Best wishes,

Ajit Narayanan


Masoud Yazdani (Chairman of Intellect Ltd and former Professor of Digital Media at the University of the West of England, Bristol)

I would like to wish my sincere sympathy to Ayshe, Mina, Shirin, Omid, all co-workers and all the friends of Prof. Dr. M.Yazdani.

I got to know Masoud Yazdani and Ayshe when they were engaged.

As Baha'is they were both very spiritual and kind couple.

We shall pray and remember them in our prayers.

Dr. Azita Ekenel (MD, GP)


I was very sad to read that Masoud Yazdani has passed away, and I offer my sincere condolences to his family and close friends. Although I did not know him personally, I am very much aware of the huge contribution he made to academic publishing. He will be sorely missed.

Aidan Coveney
Department of Modern languages
University of Exeter


I am shocked and very sad to hear the news that Mazoud Yazdani has died after a long battle with cancer. Mazoud was incredibly enthusiastic about publishing and was an integral part of the foundation of our Journal with Intellect. Indeed had it not been for Mazoud we would not have arrived at the Journal's practice-encompassing title - the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice. At the time we could not see beyond our network name. He set us on a very particular path and for that we will always be grateful. We will miss him. Please send our condolences to his wife and family.

Julia Lockheart


It was a real shock to hear of the untimely loss of Masoud. I got to know him in the far-off 1980’s while he was a PhD student at the University of Sussex and we would discuss automated story generation, the subject of both of our theses. It was a topic he had a real passion for and he was closely involved in two early Intellect books on Computers and Writing, which allowed a whole group of researchers in this area a place to publish their work. I’ll always remember Masoud’s energy, warmth and enthusiasm: my condolences to his family and workmates.

Lyn Pemberton
University of Brighton


A year ago, my colleagues and I began working on a journal proposal, subsequently submitted to Intellect and under development. We were recommended to you because of Masoud particularly - his personal interest and practice of working with authors and editors personally. We were shocked to hear the sad news, and we wish his family well, along with his colleagues at Intellect.

Ben Macpherson, University of Portsmouth


In the life of this journal (Art, Design and Communication in HE) he was the towering creative force who questioned us relentlessly about the academic rigour and the intended audiences for ADCHE. Masoud took personally the development of all the Intellect journals and this journal is palpably stronger as a result of that early input. It was an honour to work with someone as passionate about publishing as we are about Higher Education research in Art and Design. He had an impressive grasp of the context for many of the journals, being a scholar himself and a fiercely determined one at that. We always felt that his endorsement of the journal was much more than a business decision, it was one which fitted with his strong principles and values. We are proud of his legacy.

Professor Linda Drew


Wow. This is devastating news. I had the pleasure of meeting Masoud in person only once at a conference in Charleston, South Carolina, but we corresponded over email during two or three years as the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies was in the process of formation. He struck me as being incredibly positive, intellectually curious and supportive of original thinking, which of course survives in the publishing legacy of Intellect. He will be missed.

Benjamin Fraser
Editor, Journal of Urban Cultural Studies



Masoud has been always very proud and happy to be kept informed that my books and articles and chapters published with Intellect, had become classics, throughout the years, slowly and progressively, in spite of so many abrupt changes, eventful situations occurred in the area of multimedia education, computer science, artificial intelligence.

As witnessing and contributing to the advancement of information science, to promote peace, himself, he always supported my efforts as the Intellect web site indicates.

An online document referencing most relevant contributions, in the making of computational studies.

Making sure important memories do not get lost in our accelerated society.

Thanks to  Intellect, those classics will remain available to a international readership.

Thanks to Masoud Yazdani, who immediately understood and made sure those ideas and theories and efforts,

reflecting values we shared deeply, could be well kept and preserved for the present and  for the future, they were printed in the first place.

International scholars and readers have become familiar with, and have accepted the new terminology introduced as Computational Literature, a definition indicating that realm of classics, i.e. books and papers lasting in time, long sellers to be read and reread, as they contain important concepts, they document entire stretches of history of the golden age, of computational studies and beyond.

Masoud still lives in my books and articles, which are infact Intellect classics, and belong to Intellect, and he also lives in books and articles of  so many authors, who had the privilege to meet him and work with him.  May, all which Masoud has done, supported and made possible, continue to be, just the way he intended it to be, and worked daily, and steadily to see happen, in strength, hope and peace, for so many of us authors and for so many readers worldwide.

Graziella Tonfoni

Intellect Author of Classics in Computational Literature


I was so saddened to her this news; my thoughts are with his family.

Masoud and I started on the very same day in 1997 as Associate Deans in the Faculty of Art, Media and Design at UWE in Bristol. We worked side by side for several years. He was a lovely man, a great colleague; he had an unusual combination of academic enthusiasm and entrepreneurial daring that made him what he was. On Wednesday evening we have the pleasure here in Melbourne at RMIT University of launching another Intellect book, and I shall take a few moments to reflect on Masoud¹s many achievements and the legacy he leaves.

Professor Paul Gough

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President

RMIT University, Melbourne

I was so very sad to hear the news of Masoud passing away this year.

I worked at Intellect on a student placement around 2000 whilst I was studying for my Computer Science degree at University of Exeter, putting in place Intellect's ebook production methodolgies. At the time, I worked with Masoud, Robin, May, Tom and Emily. I remember visiting Masoud's house and he offered me a role after university. Working for Masoud was one of the happiest times in my life. I remember him as a kind, compassionate, deeply intelligent and insightful gentleman that gave opportunities and a chance to people looking for a break. He created a happy atmosphere in the Fishponds offices. I bounced along to work every day and it was a truly happy time in my life.

Please pass on my condolences and sympathies to Masoud's family and friends at Intellect. Even after all these years, I still nipped onto the Intellect website now and then to check on their progress. It is a real regret that I didn't keep in touch more with Masoud over the years. He made a real difference to my life and I am sure many others. He was truly a wonderful man and will be missed. Rest in peace Masoud.

Kind regards,
Vishal Panjwani

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