Richard Madelaine was a member of the Executive Committee of the English Association for over 20 years and its President for more than 10 of these years.
He was actively committed to the goals of the Association and was for some years instrumental in organizing its annual conferences for HSC students and teachers of English and commissioning and editing for publication papers presented on those occasions. His editorial judgment and his quietly persistent way of ensuring that necessary things happen which wouldn’t have happened without him were admired by all who experienced their effects. He contributed significantly, too, to the success of the conference publication through his own consistently witty, incisive, wide-ranging, carefully targeted and finely crafted pieces on Shakespeare. The stand-alone Shakespearean pamphlets which he wrote earlier for the EA have always been among the most widely sought-after of the items on display at the EA Conference book stalls.
For the last five years of his term as President, Richard suffered from a painful and what eventually proved to be a terminal illness. But he endured this illness and the various attempts at treating it with his customary wit, good humour and equanimity, continuing to exercise his characteristically unassuming judiciousness and only resigning from his position as President in 2011,when he was unable to fulfil his responsibilities any longer.
Richard Madelaine died in 2012 and, before his funeral, the EA Committee unanimously decided to honour his memory and his longstanding contribution to the English Association by renaming the English Association Prizes, awarded each year to the top Fourth Year Honours student in English at the University of Sydney, NSW University, Macquarie University and the University of Western Sydney, as the Richard Madelaine Prizes.