Katherine Tegen, v-p and publisher of Katherine Tegen Books at HarperCollins Children’s Books, has announced plans to retire in December.
She first joined the children’s division in 1984, back when it was called Harper & Row Junior Books. She later worked at Houghton Mifflin and at Disney, rejoining the company in 2001. Her eponymous imprint, Katherine Tegen Books, launched in fall 2003.
Authors she has worked with include Henry Cole, Leslie Connor, Michael Grant, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Maureen Johnson, Patricia MacLachlan, Garth Nix, Veronica Roth, and Angie Sage. And her imprint has published many additional authors and illustrators, including Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris, Charles G. Esperanza, Lisa Greenwald, Tiffany D. Jackson, Mackenzi Lee, Justin A. Reynolds, and Eliot Schrefer.
“I have worked for 40 years without a break,” Tegen told PW, “and I’ve been very dedicated to my imprint for the last 20 years. I achieved what I set out to do, to publish some great books that children would want to read.”
Reflecting on what has given her the most pleasure throughout her career, Tegen said: “I’ve loved working with authors, and I also really enjoyed the bookmaking process, and working with designers. One of my favorite things is picking out the binding specs for a book! And I love editing too. Editing a manuscript is like solving a puzzle, when I figure out what’s missing or what would make it more organized or more accessible to young readers. And I feel very fortunate that I started in publishing before there was email, before most of our communication became digital. I’ve always loved talking with people and the hands-on aspect of publishing. The way we work now feels like a loss. I’m hoping that everyone can go back to the office soon and enjoy the social aspects of working in publishing.”
Following her retirement, the Tegen imprint will continue but will be renamed.
Tegen said she will be taking some time off after December, and then plans to devote time to nonprofit work, focusing on the need for affordable housing in her town of Woodstock, N.Y.