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-- 6/8/98
William Abrahams, who in his 35-year career as one of the notable literary editors published more than 350 books, many of them through his own imprint at Dutton, died June 2 at his California home of natural causes. He was 79.
Abrahams began his professional life as an author, publishing four well-reviewed novels between 1954 and 1963, when a friend at Atlantic Monthly Press offered him a part-time job reading manuscripts. He moved to Northern California in 1968 and formed his own imprint, William Abrahams Books, working at first through Holt, Rinehart &Winston and, since 1984, with Dutton. His many authors included Thomas Flanagan and Pauline Kael (both of whom would work only with him), Joyce Carol Oates, Lillian Hellman, William Inge, John Knowles, Francis Steegmuller, Shirley Hazzard, Jessica Mitford, Pat Barker, Brian Moore and Diane Johnson.

As overseer of the O. Henry Awards for 30 years, and editor of its annual collection, Abrahams also played a significant role in the development of the American short story. He was also the author of four nonfiction books, including most recently London's Burning: Life, Death and Art in the Second World War, written with his longtime companion, historian Peter Stansky.

Dorothy Spence Briley, editor-in-chief and publisher of Clarion Books, died of a heart attack on May 25. She was 63.

Briley began her publishing career at the Methodist Publishing House in Nashville, and later headed up the children's departments at J.B. Lippincott Lothrop Lee &Shepard. She worked with a number of award-winning authors and illustrators, including Karen Cushman, David Wiesner, David Wisniewski, John Stept and Russell Freedman. Briley was also the current president of the board of Bookbird, the journal of the International Board on Books for Young People, and served as a past president of USBBY.

A memorial service will be held later this summer, at a time to be announced.
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