July 7, 2020
Simon & Schuster announce new publisher
by Alyea Canada
On Monday Simon & Schuster announced Dana Canedy as the new executive vice president and publisher of their namesake imprint to start on July 27. Canedy replaces Jonathan Karp who left the role when he was named CEO of S&S in May following the death of Carolyn Reidy.
Canedy comes from outside of the book world, having been the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes since 2017 and a reporter and senior editor at the New York Times for twenty years before that. While at the Pulitzers she oversaw the awards recognizing Kendrick Lamar and issuing a posthumous award to Black journalist Ida B. Wells. She won a Pulitzer herself as part of the team for the Times series “How Race is Lived in America.” Elizabeth A. Harris at the New York Times quotes Canedy about her new position: “The ultimate goal of the job is to champion the work of our amazing authors, to bring in new authors, and commission books that I and my team think are important. And basically, when you boil all that down, that means applying news judgment.”
Canedy is only the third woman and the first Black woman to hold the position and her hiring is likely to be perceived as in response to the ongoing racial reckoning going on in publishing and media. However, Harris reports that Karp first spoke to Canedy about working at the imprint two years ago but at the time she had only been at the Pulitzers for about a year. Canedy says, “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.”
S&S has been in the news a lot recently, mostly due to legal troubles surrounding John Bolton’s memoir and Mary Trump’s forthcoming tell-all. In March ViacomCBS announced in March that it is placing S&S up for sale and there is still a pandemic going on, so it is definitely a rocky time to be taking over, but Canedy seems ready for the challenge. I, for one, am excited to see a Black woman taking over one of the biggest jobs in book publishing. Here’s hoping it is one of many steps forward for the industry.
Alyea Canada is an editor at Melville House.