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Canedy becomes first black publisher at Simon & Schuster

by | Jul 8, 2020 | News

Dana Canedy, for two decades a highly respected journalist at the New York Times and the author of a bestselling memoir, has been appointed senior vice president and publisher at Simon & Schuster, taking over from the previous incumbent, Jonathan Karp, who became CEO following the death of Carolyn Reidy in May.  She is the first black person to hold the position at S&S.

Canedy joined the New York Times in 1997, covering a broad range of topics, including business and finance, race and class, terrorism, politics, law enforcement, and crime.  She was a lead writer and editor on the paper’s series ‘How Race Is Lived in America’, which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

In 2017 she became administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes and duringher tenure with the prestigious organisation the Pulitzer board issued a posthumous award to the pioneering black journalist Ida B Wells.

What makes Canedy’s appointement unusual is that she is one of very few senior publishers to also be an author.  In 2008 her moving memoir A Journal for Jordan was published, about her partner First Sgt Charles M King and the journal he wrote for their son, Jordan, in case he did not return from the conflict in Iraq.

In 2005, King began to write what would become a two-hundred-page journal for his son in case he did not make it home.  He was killed by a roadside bomb on October 14, 2006. His son, Jordan, was seven months old.  Published by Penguin Random House A Journal for Jordan is described as ‘a mother’s letter to her son about the father he lost before he could even speak–including a fiercely honest account of her search for answers about Charles’s death. It is also a father’s advice and prayers for the son he will never know. Finally, this is the story of Dana and Charles together–two seemingly mismatched souls who loved each other deeply and lost each other too soon’.

Karp first began talking to Canedy about the position at the publisher two years ago, and Canedy notes: “Jon should get credit for the fact that in an era of racial reckoning, when suddenly everybody is looking for people of color and women to add to their boards and to bring in to their companies — he started talking to me two years ago,” Ms. Canedy said. “That’s the way you want to go into a company. I wouldn’t be taking this job if I thought he just wanted a Black publisher.”

On her appointment she said:  “I look forward to leading the storied Simon & Schuster flagship imprint, a publishing powerhouse that has long produced some of the most important and impactful books in our culture. We have an incredible legacy on which to build, and it is an honor for me to join this talented group of editors and publishing professionals as it continues to tell the stories that demand to be told, through the voices of so many of the best authors of our time.”

Karp said Canedy’s wide experience outside publishing is attractive to the firm.  “I am confident that as our new publisher, Dana can deepen our strengths while expanding our field of vision, combining broad editorial expertise with hands-on management skill and the proven ability to effect strategic change.”

 

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