March 29, 2018
President and publisher of an imprint at S&S becomes president and publisher of an imprint at HC
by Susan Rella
Last month, we briefly reported that Judith Curr, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster’s Atria Publishing Group, was stepping down, effective immediately.
About two days ago, Publishers Weekly’s Jim Milliot reported that Curr will join HarperCollins as president and publisher of HarperOne, Amistad, and Rayo, effective April 2nd.
Curr spent nineteen years at S&S, founded the Atria Books imprint in 2002, and was named president and publisher of the Atria Publishing Group in 2012. She was responsible for the mega-bestseller The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (which moved more than 35 million copies in fifty-seven languages), as well as breaking out Jodi Picoult and launching chick-lit star Jennifer Weiner with Good In Bed. More recently, she was behind the successful slow-build campaign of Fredrick Backman’s A Man Called Ove. She also took the helm at of Howard Books, the S&S religious imprint.
Amistad and Rayo have long been part of HarperCollins’s general books group, but consolidation is in the air, and, in this case, it makes sense. Curr also oversaw Atria Books Español and helped launch 37 Ink, which, as Milliot reports, is currently helmed by former Amistad publisher Dawn Davis. Did you know that everyone in publishing has worked with literally everyone else?
Although a lateral move is pretty surprising for someone with Curr’s experience and track record, HarperOne will enable Curr to continue on her metaphysical and spiritual bent — it is, after all, the imprint behind such books as The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. HarperOne also recently published Brave, the memoir by Rose McGowan. While at Atria, Curr published several books by actress-turned-mystic Shirley Maclaine, as well as books by a handful of psychics (including Long Island medium Theresa Caputo, featured on her book’s cover with an appropriately blinged-out jacket). Per Milliot, Curr will be handling more of the same in this newly created position, tasked with growing the multicultural (Amistad) and Spanish-language (Rayo) lists, in addition to HarperOne’s — which HC would like to see expanded from “50 books per year to 120 titles annually.”
Curr, who had split her time between New York and her native Australia, will now add San Francisco, where HarperOne is based, to her list of residences.
In potentially related news: earlier this month, Milliot reported that Jonathan Karp, formerly the publisher of S&S’s house imprint, had been appointed president and publisher of the conglomerate’s entire adult publishing group by Carolyn Reidy — a position that had been vacant since Reidy herself was promoted from it to president and CEO back in 2008.
There’s no word on whether Curr’s abrupt departure from S&S is related to this reorg; in the Publishers Weekly article discussing Karp’s promotion, a spokesperson for S&S says they’re still looking to replace Curr.
Susan Rella is the managing editor at Melville House, and a former bookseller.