Hachette Book Group made good on its promise to keep the Twelve imprint alive despite the departure of founding editor/publisher Jonathan Karp by appointing Susan Lehman editor-in-chief and publisher. The announcement was made by Jamie Raab, executive v-p and publisher of Grand Central Publishing. Lehman will start September 27.
“In my search for Twelve’s new publisher,” said Raab, “I was looking for someone who embodied the unique vision and spirit of the imprint – impeccable and eclectic taste; a passion for books and writers; a fresh perspective on the publishing process and a commitment to working hard to make every book on the list a critical and commercial success. When I met Susan Lehman, I knew I’d found someone who possessed all of these qualities.”
Lehman indeed has a varied background. She was most recently the director of communications and strategy at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where, among other things, she created and edited the Center’s “Just Books” – a Web site dedicated to justice, books, and ideas. Prior to the Brennan Center, Lehman was an editor at Riverhead Books, where she edited Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judith Warner, Daniel Libeskind’s Breaking Ground: Adventures in Life and Architecture and Elliot Perlman’s 7 Types of Ambiguity, among others. She was also a senior editor at Talk magazine, and from 1997 to 2000 was New York editor at Salon.com. She is currently a member of the board of directors at the New Press. Outside the print world, Lehman has produced several documentaries and cable news shows for television.
Lehman told PW she is excited about joining Twelve because "I love books." She said Karp has created a terrific model that she hopes to build on by finding books that "are superbly written, spark wonder, and are fun to read." Lehman said her background has brought her into contact with lots of people "who think of things in different ways" and who could be potential authors for Twelve.
Cary Goldstein will remain associate publisher, and Lehman said she expects to rely heavily on "his proven skills." Twelve will release trade paperback editions of a few titles next May through August and will relaunch the Twelve list in a "strategic way" next fall, Goldstein said. Lehman said that at this point she has no plans to attend the 2010 Frankfurt Book Fair.