People: Algonquin Moves Into YA/Middle Grade Book Publishing

Algonquin Books will start publishing young adult and middle grade books by the end of 2012 and has hired Elise Howard, formerly svp and associate publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, to oversee the program. Howard plans to start the new list with up to a half dozen titles next year and build "gradually" from there. She will work out of Algonquin’s New York office, starting in mid-November.

"Developing a brand-new young adult and middle-grade readers’ list is a rare opportunity," Howard said in the announcement. "The really thrilling challenge is to do it within a program as esteemed as Algonquin's, with the goal of building a small, focused, literary list that reflects and honors its origins in every way." Howard spent the past twelve years at HarperCollins, most recently providing editorial oversight for the HarperTeen and Harper imprint fiction publishing programs.

Algonquin publisher Elisabeth Scharlatt added: "Over the years, a number of Algonquin’s adult titles have attracted young adult readers. If we're to grow beyond our adult trade list, then publishing books geared explicitly for younger readers seems to be the most logical way to extend our reach."

Anthony Cheetham has not run out of publishing lives yet, as his newest start-up Head of Zeus is now public. The line is set to debut next summer in the UK with Robert Massie's CATHERINE THE GREAT biography. Cheetham, who is funding the new venture himself along with "close associates" for now, plans for another 10 titles of "general books with a slightly upmarket feel" in print for 2012, along with a separate list of commercial fiction released in ebook first. Talking to the Bookseller about how Head of Zeus will differ from his short-term stints at Quercus and then Atlantic Books, Cheetham says, "this is not a blueprint for some huge group. This time I prefer to retain ownership and management, so one is not forced to sell it. I'd like this one to stick around for a while."

In other personnel news, Rowland White will return to Penguin UK, where he worked for 12 years, as publishing director for Michael Joseph after two years as nonfiction publishing director for Orion. White will concentrate on nonfiction and thrillers and report to managing director Louise Moore.

Back in the US, both Bloomberg and Page Six cover the lovely party honoring Jeffrey Eugenides held by FSG on Wednesday night at the Top of the Standard in New York. Bloomberg has multiple photos as well. The reports focus on the guests and the drinks, while FSG was celebrating a strong start in sales.