From writer Denis Johnson posthumously winning the Prize for American Fiction to Harvard University Press’s new director, here’s the latest in literary news:
Denis Johnson, who died from cancer in May, has been named winner of the Prize for American Fiction by the Library of Congress. His widow, Cindy Johnson, will accept the prize on his behalf during the National Book Festival in Washington on September 2. In March, Johnson—the author of many works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, including the story collection Jesus’ Son and the Vietnam War novel Tree of Smoke—was told that he had won. He wrote to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden: “The list of past awardees is daunting, and I’m honored to be in such company. My head’s spinning from such great news!” This is the first time the Prize for American Fiction, which goes to a writer whose work “is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination,” will be awarded posthumously.
Jamie Raab and Deb Futter are launching a new division at Macmillan called Celadon Books with plans to publish twenty to twenty-five fiction and nonfiction titles a year. The division is set to launch on September 12. Raab, who previously worked for thirty years at Grand Central, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, will serve as Celadon’s president and publisher. Futter, who was Hachette’s vice president and president of her own imprint called Twelve Books, will be senior vice president and co-publisher. Futter told the New York Times that she hopes to “publish novels that straddle the line between commercial and literary.” Raab added that they want to acquire “idea-driven narratives and nonfiction books, and works about politics.”
Harvard University Press has named a new director: George Andreou. The current vice president and senior editor at Alfred A. Knopf will take over for William Sisler. HUP’s leader for the past twenty-seven years, Sisler announced his plans to retire in January. Three years after graduating from Harvard College in 1987, Andreou began his publishing career as an editorial assistant at Knopf. He co-founded Vintage Español in 1994, and in 2005, he was appointed to his current position. Of his new position, Andreou said: “These are transformational times, both in the academy and in publishing, and they present unique opportunities . . . to serve both the scholarly community and the serious general reader.”