Norton is reopening its former literary imprint Liveright & Company with executive editor Robert Weil as editor-in-chief and publishing director. Liveright, which was started by Horace Liveright in the 1920s when he bought out Albert Boni's share of Boni &Liveright, was acquired by Norton in 1974. Known as a progressive publisher with a bent towards experimental writing, Liveright published a long list of now-iconic authors including Gertrude Stein, E.E. Cummings and William Faulkner. The new Liveright will release its first list in spring 2012.
Weil, speaking to the decision to bring back the Liveright name, said he is excited to take the imprint into the 21st century and that he will be taking almost all of his existing authors over to the new imprint. He added that the new Liveright, in keeping with its original mission, will be focused on books that "make a heavy impression when they're published" but also become classic backlist titles or, as he put it, "great books that just sell and sell and sell."
Liveright, which also brought to U.S. shores a number of European authors and intellectuals, such as Sigmund Freud and T.S. Eliot, under Weil will release approximately 20 books a year, with a focus on serious nonfiction. Norton said the list will be heavily comprised of biography, history, and current events. But Liveright will also do fiction and, to that end, will attempt to publish the kind of books it was once known for: edgy and experimental works. Speaking to the fiction offerings from the imprint, Norton said Liveright will look to publish novels that "uphold a distinct twentieth-century American tradition." Liveright will also publish literature in translation as well as graphic fiction and nonfiction.
Some of the authors on the first Liveright list include Gail Collins, Jim Holt and E.O. Wilson. Weil also estimates that fiction will comprise roughly 20 to 25% of the list. And, although Norton is touting the fact that the Liveright name is steeped in publishing history, the revived imprint will not shy away from experimentations with digital storytelling and marketing; Weil plans to do apps and incorporate social media heavily into publicity campaigns.