October 24, 2021

Sonny Mehta, Chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dies at 77

From the AP:

 Sonny Mehta, the urbane and astute head of Alfred A. Knopf who guided one of the book world’s most esteemed imprints to new heights through a blend of prize-winning literature by Toni Morrison and Cormac McCarthy among others and blockbusters such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” has died at age 77.

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“Mehta’s contributions to the world of letters and publishing are without precedent,” a statement from the publisher read Tuesday. “His exacting standards – in editorial, production, design, marketing, and publicity – were a beacon to the book industry and beyond.”

A successor will be named at some point in the new year.

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From The Bookseller:

Mehta began his publishing career in London in 1965 at Rupert Hart-Davis. He joined Granada Publishing in 1966, where he cofounded Paladin Books, before moving on to Pan Books in 1972, where he helped relaunch the Picador imprint.

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In 1987, he moved to the United States when he was named president and editor in chief of Knopf,  only the third person to lead the prestigious imprint in its 104-year history.

Under Mehta’s leadership, six of Knopf’s writers were awarded Nobel Prizes – Kazuo Ishiguro, Alice Munro, Orhan Pamuk, Imre Kertész, V S Naipaul, and Toni Morrison – with many others winning honours including Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and the Booker Prize. At Knopf, Mehta published novelists including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, John Banville, Julian Barnes, Michael Crichton, James Ellroy, Richard Flanagan, Yaa Gyasi, P D James, Stieg Larsson, Gabriel García Márquez, Cormac McCarthy, Haruki Murakami, Jo Nesbø, Michael Ondaatje, Anne Tyler, and John Updike; as well as world leaders including Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, and other non-fiction writers, including Joan Didion and Nora Ephron. When Knopf and Doubleday were united to form a new publishing group in 2009, other writers came under his direction, including Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, John Grisham, and Kevin Kwan.

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From 2006

LISTEN ONLINE: Sonny Mehta on “In Literature, What Makes a Classic?” (via NPR)

 From 2008

Sonny Mehta Discusses the Work of Stieg Larson

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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