Home-page blues

I view it, in some ways, as entirely arbitrary whether one says, say, Ralph Vaughan Williams is or was a composer of 9 symphonies, etc.

However, in the spirit of celebrating Russ as a person, even if his physical body died, I would prefer to read on the home-page :

Russell Hoban (1925-2011) is an American writer [...]

I know what you mean but I think it would read oddly... there's no getting away from the fact that Russ is no longer with us (bodily anyway).

No, Russ is no longer with us as a physical human being. But he remains a writer until such time as my thesis about him gets proved, and it's established that a black guy in Brixton ghost-wrote everything. Shakespeare is a writer - to say Shakespeare was a writer implies that he stopped writing...

Don't you think 'is' definitely implies that he's alive? It's different with Shakespeare ... nobody much is uncertain about his status ...

How about removing the verb?

Russell Hoban (1925-2011)

American writer...

How would anyone think Russ alive with the dates 1925 to 2011 above... ?