Scholastic has announced that Arthur A. Levine, widely known as the editor who brought J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series to the U.S., will be leaving to start an independent publishing company as of March 30. Levine, who has been with the publisher for 23 years, launched his eponymous imprint at Scholastic in 1996.
Levine told PW of his departure, “I’ve had a wonderful run at Scholastic and will greatly miss working here. There are such strengths and so many gifted individuals. But I’m excited to found a company led by a mission to make books reflecting the greatest diversity and the highest standards of artistic excellence.”
While the name of the new company is yet to be announced, Levine said the list will “center on diversity, ideally with a mix of 75% minority creators, including people of color, Indigenous people, and LGBTQ individuals. It will be focused on high-quality bookmaking and many of the things Arthur A. Levine Books has been known for.” Levine tentatively plans to launch in fall 2020, with a debut list of 20 U.S. titles and five of what he described as “the world’s best books in translation.”
Accompanying Levine in his new venture is Nick Thomas, who has served as senior editor at Scholastic. Further staffing details have yet to be revealed, as well as a distribution arrangement.
Going forward, Scholastic will continue to be the U.S. publisher of Harry Potter and the Arthur A. Levine backlist of more than 300 titles for young readers. Among the notable authors Levine has published at Scholastic are Neal Bascomb, Martha Brockenbrough, Emma Donoghue, Eric Gansworth, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Varian Johnson, Mike Jung, Amy Sarig King, Bill Konigsberg, Jaclyn Moriarty, Sarah Moon, Daniel José Older, Aida Salazar, Francisco X. Stork, Kelly Yang, and Markus Zusak. The imprint has also published works by both acclaimed and up-and-coming illustrators, including Richard Egielski, Caroline Hadilaksono, Jean Kim, Tony Piedra, Komako Sakai, David Small, and Shaun Tan.
Ellie Berger, president of trade publishing at Scholastic, told PW, “We’re very grateful for the 23 years Arthur has been at Scholastic and that through him we are the home of Harry Potter. We wish him a lot of luck and good things as he goes forth. It is a bittersweet time for us and we are going through a transition, but we remain committed to publishing great books, including ones by the authors and illustrators that Arthur has brought to the list.”