Feb 6, 2008
Kathryn Court joined Penguin Books in 1977 and became Editorial Director two years later. In l984 she was named Editor in Chief of Viking Penguin and in 1992 Senior Vice-President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of Penguin Books. She was named President of Penguin Books in August 2000. Authors she has worked with include: Reinaldo Arenas, Andrea Camilleri, J.M. Coetzee, Slavenka Drakulic, Mary Relinda Ellis, Robert Fagles, Josephine Humphreys, Garrison Keillor, Nora Okja Keller, Donna Leon, Mary McGarry Morris, John Mortimer, Richard Rodriguez, C.J. Samsom, Jim Trelease, and William Trevor.We met at BookExpo in New York, and talk here about: the role of publisher, artist Chris Ware’s funky Candide cover, new ways of selling things you already own, showing the young that reading can be fun, finding new authors and having faith in them, Andrea Camilleri and the benefit of buying series, hard cover versus soft cover sales, 4000 title backlists that finance front lists, J.M. Coetzee’s greatness, sales and distain for interviewers, the need for confidence in young editors in order to convince others that their picks are as good as they say they are, advertising in book review sections and how it doesn’t work, how emotional novels and those with voices women can identify with sell best, the three million copy selling The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, the sales power of word of mouth, and the joyful intensity of working as part of an editorial team…as a happy few against the world.