Masoud Yazdani: Founder and publisher of Intellect

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, who will then post them into the comments section below. 

Mark Lewis
Managing Director


Posted by Mark Lewis at 13:48 (41) comments
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Holly Rose  Said...

Prof. Graeme Harper

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

February 26, 2014 16:48
Holly Rose  Said...

Michelle Langford

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.

February 26, 2014 17:16
Holly Rose  Said...

John Berra

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.

February 26, 2014 17:18
Holly Rose  Said...

Keith Cameron

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.

February 26, 2014 17:19
Holly Rose  Said...

Robert Hawley

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.

February 26, 2014 17:20
Holly Rose  Said...

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

February 26, 2014 17:29
Holly Rose  Said...

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

February 26, 2014 17:48
Holly Rose  Said...

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

February 27, 2014 08:46
Holly Rose  Said...

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

February 27, 2014 10:54
Lorenzo Torres  Said...

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

February 27, 2014 10:56