If you know me from TSR/Wizards of the Coast and the Forgotten Realms novel line, you’ve seen the work of Matt Adelsperger, who died yesterday, very suddenly, and far too young.

I worked with Matt at both TSR in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and at Wizards of the Coast here in the Seattle area, for all of the fifteen years I spent there. Much of the last half or so of that time, Matt worked directly for me, as a dedicated art director for the book publishing team, and I was so lucky to have him, I can’t even tell you. What he brought to those books—a meticulous sense of detail, abundant creativity, and amazing relationships with some of the greatest fantasy illustrators of the past thirty years—was impossible to calculate.

In fact, I was once cornered by my boss, who told me I had to revise the annual job evaluation I put together for Matt to add some negative stuff. The human resources people, apparently, didn’t like it when these things were all positive. But I only had positive things to say about Matt’s work.

When I eft the company, Matt organized team renunion lunches, made sure I was still included in things like our fantasy football league, and in general made sure we stayed in touch. We talked football, Survivor, where to find Chicago-style pizza in Seattle, movies… everything.

Here is a picture of Matt with my wife and daughter, when we met up for our last fantasy football draft.

The rest of the images are samples of Matt’s amazing design work. He really was one of the best book designers of his time.


He was my friend and I will miss him forever.


—Philip Athans


About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, ( is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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  1. mcc1789 says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Phil. His work looks very good.

  2. Jason J McCuiston says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. He will be missed not only by those who knew him, but by those who admire his work.

  3. Peter Archer says:

    Matt was a wonderful art director, whose talent and humor will live long after him. I miss him very much.

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