Gerald Howard, vice president, executive editor, Doubleday, is retiring at the end of the year, after working at the house since 1998. Publisher and editor-in-chief of Doubleday Bill Thomas, writes, “Gerry has decided to spend more time with his wonderful wife, Susanne, travel and work on his biography of the legendary editor Malcolm Cowley for Penguin Press, which, amusingly to some of us, is overdue.”
Thomas adds, “‘Legendary editor’ is an appellation that applies to Gerry just as well. The range and quality of the books he has edited, published and championed over his forty-six-year career is simply breathtaking…. He adores publishing — the folkways, the personalities, the history. What shines through most of all is his adamant belief that what we do matters, that our work can and should have a profound and positive impact on our culture. He cares, which means he reads for all his colleagues, especially younger ones, sends us flurries of articles and references on subjects he knows interest us, gets just a tiny bit cantankerous when frustrated by bureaucratic matters, writes genuinely honest and therefore terrifying rejection letters, and views our editorial meetings as old-fashioned salons.”
Also at Doubleday, Kristine Puopolo has been promoted to vice president, editorial director, nonfiction. Thomas Gebremedhin will join as vice president, executive editor on September 14. He was previously senior editor at The Atlantic magazine. Margo Shickmanter has been promoted to senior editor and Carolyn Williams to associate editor.
Peter Blackstock has been named publisher for Grove Press UK, adding to his role as senior editor at Grove Atlantic, and continuing to work from New York. Blackstock told The Bookseller, “I’m thrilled to be working with Grove Press UK in a more official way and to look for opportunities to bring in select authors we aren’t publishing in the States.”
Playwright and novelist Ayad Akhtar will become the president of PEN America, starting December 2 and succeeding novelist Jennifer Egan. He has served on the board for five years. PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in the release, “Ayad is a dauntless documenter of our time. His writing across disciplines voices the unspoken and lays bare what many would rather keep cloaked. His willingness to break boundaries and risk backlash make him an especially appropriate leader for PEN America at a time when our collective cultural parameters are being renegotiated. He is a fierce advocate and an embodiment of the role of literature as a catalyst for change.”
Jan Weitendorf von Hacht, CEO of W1-Media Group in Germany, and Cassie Hanjian, most recently senior literary agent at DeFiore and Company, have formed West Wind Literary Scouting, a full-service international literary scouting firm. West Wind will scout for all of the W1-Media imprints in Germany, including adult imprints Arche and Atrium Verlag, YA imprint Arctis, and children’s imprints WooW Books, Atrium Children’s Books, and Von Hacht Publishing.
The National Book Foundation will honor the late Carolyn Reidy posthumously with their annual Literarian Award for outstanding service to the American literary community. Her husband Stephen Reidy will accept the award on her behalf and will donate the prize proceeds to her favorite charity, Worldreader.
Canada’s Giller Prize announced their 14-title longlist. The shortlist is due October 5.
Oprah’s Book Club has expanded to include a podcast. Winfrey starts with an eight-part series on the current selection, Isabel Wilkerson’s CASTE, releasing Tuesday and Thursdays on Apple Podcasts.
Barnes & Noble confirmed that it will not reopen their store in Jonesboro, AK that was closed in March after it was damaged by a tornado: “We have been in discussions to re-open the bookstore, but unfortunately this has proved to be uneconomic. We are to look for alternative locations for a new bookstore in the area, with an active search to begin as soon as normal retail conditions return.”
Staff writer for The New Yorker and National Book Award-winner Evan Osnos‘ JOE BIDEN: THE LIFE, THE RUN, AND WHAT MATTERS NOW will be published Scribner on October 27. Adapted from Osnos’ New Yorker profiles of Biden, the book will “examine Biden’s political career and lifelong quest for the presidency.”
A memorial tribute to children’s author Tomie dePaola, who died on March 30, will be held on Tuesday, September 15 on what would have been dePaola’s 86th birthday, at 5:30 PM ET on Zoom. No registration is required.