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Reagan Arthur named publisher at Knopf after Sonny Mehta’s death

Reagan Arthur
Reagan Arthur will succeed the late Sonny Mehta as publisher at Knopf.
(Little, Brown)

Weeks after the death of its beloved longtime editor in chief, Sonny Mehta, Knopf has named Reagan Arthur its new executive vice president and publisher.

In an internal memo provided to the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, Penguin Random House Chief Executive Madeline McIntosh announced the appointment, noting that Mehta had requested Arthur as his replacement before he died at age 77 in December. The literary mogul served as president and editor in chief of Knopf for 32 years and chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for a decade.

“In the last few weeks, each of us has read, or heard, or said: ‘Sonny cannot be replaced.’ He was an extraordinary editor, publisher, tastemaker, and mentor,” McIntosh wrote in the memo. “Everything about him was unique, every conversation with him interesting. He led us where his curiosity took him, and redefined our industry along the way.”

“I’m incredibly happy to report that as his last gift to us, Sonny identified Reagan Arthur as his first choice for this role, and they were able to meet and talk about the opportunity in the fall.”

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Sonny Mehta served as editor in chief of Knopf, where he published Nobel Prize-winning authors like Toni Morrison. He died at 77.

Coming off a seven-year stint as senior vice president and publisher at Little, Brown, Arthur will start in her new role at Knopf on Feb. 11. Paul Bogaards, executive vice president and deputy publisher, as well as the Knopf, Pantheon and Schlocken editorial teams, will report to her.

Arthur will report to Maya Mavjee, who was named the new president and publisher for the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Throughout her career, Arthur has worked with several notable authors, including Kate Atkinson, Michael Connelly, Rachel Cusk, Tina Fey, Malcolm Gladwell, Josh Ferris, David Sedaris and Ronan Farrow, who penned the recent bestseller “Catch and Kill.” She will become only the fourth editor in the imprint’s 100-plus-year history (and the third since Alfred A. Knopf) when she takes the helm next month.

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“The range and breadth of Reagan’s editorial expertise and her leadership qualities are core to what make her the ideal choice for this role. Her writers think the world of her, as do her colleagues,” McIntosh wrote in the memo. “I was so looking forward to having Sonny introduce her to you, but I know you’ll help me provide her with the very warmest welcome in his place.”


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