I knew, tangentially, of Grant Oliphant long before I met him — most people in Pittsburgh do. Besides in his capacity as president of the Heinz Endowments, I had also become involved with a great organization called Leadership Pittsburgh, of which is wife Aradhna is president. She’s one of my favorite people in Pittsburgh, warm and funny and active about connecting the right people together with intention; when Aradhna introduces you to someone and tells you about them, it’s not just networking but a real moment of opportunity for collaboration.
When she introduced me to Grant at a local social gathering, our conversation immediately turned to writing. Grant had written a novel that had been picked up by one of the publishers back in the nineties — I can’t remember which one, but I do remember that all those nineties publishers are now one of only five giant conglomerates who manage hundreds of imprints between them. There’s no Viking anymore — only Penguin Random House. I used to walk by Charles Scribner’s and Sons — which is now part of Simon & Schuster. TOR? That’s all Macmillan. Grand Central and Time Warner? Gobbled up by Murdoch’s News Corp and since, I believe, spun off again.
It’s hard to keep track but ripe for discussion — and over the course of our conversation, it became apparent both Grant and I cared about books. Stories. Not just the publishing and the business but the actual conversation of literature, and how it drives thought and ideas and culture.
When I expressed interest in his book, it was as one writer to another.
When I read it, though, by only a few pages in I became interested as a publisher.
I’m really excited to be part of the publication of this book. I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people, especially those who know Grant. Because as I said, most in Pittsburgh — and beyond — do, except not as a novelist, and most likely not the author of a novel like this one, a complex psychological thriller about a young woman investigating an abduction and forced to revisit the traumatic experiences of her past. It’s packed with themes about the truth — what it is, how doggedly one must pursue it, and how one must stand up for it when it is the right thing to do.
Without further adieu: purchase Ring of Years by Grant Oliphant for Kindle.