Family Publications was founded in 1988 by Denis Riches, a convert to the Catholic Church. He had already been publishing a number of works in support of the family for the organisation Family & Youth Concern, then run by his wife Valerie. Family Publications very much grew out of this work and became an apostolate in the Church in its own right for the publication of Catholic books. Ever since, part of Family Publications’ mission has been to support the family.
The growth of the firm was aided by there being a gap in the market for good Catholic books. There was a clear need for sound Catholic books and this led Denis to take on several ventures including publishing a number of works in English for the Holy See.
The world of Catholic publishing in Britain has undergone dramatic changes in recent years. Many firms that would have been house-hold names after the War have all but disappeared. Although the Catholic world has lost some former power-houses of publishing, the space has been filled over the last few years by a number of new Catholic publishers. These newer firms tend to have a number of things in common, including a surprisingly high number of converts, a love of the faith, a commitment to a renewal in catholic culture, and a sense of publishing as a modern lay apostolate.
Family Publications is now probably fairly well-known to many Catholics for its recent titles by Fr Aidan Nichols OP and Fr Thomas Crean OP. Aidan Nichols’ book, The Realm, received wide international coverage and a large number of positive reviews. Thomas Crean’s work, A Catholic Replies to Professor Dawkins, is a best-seller and has received a huge amount of feedback, is now on its third print-run, and has been brought out in the USA as God is no Delusion. The firm has also established a reputation for works of Church history including books on the English Cardinals, John Gerard SJ, the English Reformation, and Cardinal Hinsley.
Books by the current Pope have been a major source of activity for Family Publications over the last few years. The firm is the UK distributor for America’s largest Catholic book publisher, Ignatius Press, which publishes all the English translations of the books written by the Pope when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. This means one new book by the Pope every couple of months.
Family Publications has itself also just published its first book by Pope Benedict, on the priesthood. The book has been well received by priests, bishops, and lay people. Furthermore, the firm is currently establishing a reputation as a publisher and supplier of sound catechetical books. Together with a number of popular prayer books, a wide range of titles is offered to assist parishes throughout Britain and Ireland and beyond.
Meanwhile, the company stays loyal to its original inspiration, with a book on Humanae Vitae last year to mark the 40th anniversary of that prophetic encyclical, and a book that will be published soon on the Theology of the Body and Humanae Vitae.
Sadly, Family Publications has closed down.