Penguin Young Readers has announced that Ken Wright, president and publisher of the Viking, Philomel, and Flamingo Publishing Group, will retire at the end of January 2023.
An industry veteran, Wright got his start on the adult side of publishing in 1985 at Oxford University Press and subsequently took on editorial positions at S&S, HarperCollins, and Henry Holt, among others. He moved to the world of children’s books in 2001, when he joined Scholastic as an editorial director in the trade division, and rose to associate publisher. Wright made another career pivot in 2006 when he became a literary agent at Writers House. His clients included Holly Goldberg Sloan, Deborah Heiligman, David Macaulay, Elizabeth Partridge, Ruta Sepetys, Steven Sheinkin, John Corey Whaley, and others.
In 2012 Wright was named v-p and publisher of Viking Children’s Books, where he played a role in such titles as The Last Kids on Earth series, the Llama Llama series, and The Boys in the Boat young readers adaptation, and books by Amanda Gorman and David Arnold. In addition, he worked to revitalize legacy titles such as Corduroy, The Story of Ferdinand, Madeline, The Outsiders, and books by Roald Dahl, Ezra Jack Keats, and Robert McCloskey. In 2017, Wright took on the steering of Philomel and expanded the team in 2019 by bringing on Margaret Anastas to launch the Flamingo imprint. He worked closely with Anastas, Tamar Brazis, Ellice Lee, and Jill Santopolo.
Jen Loja, president of Penguin Young Readers, said in a statement, “Not only has Ken built a successful and thriving publishing team during his time here, he has also shown us what it is to be a lovely and gracious colleague. Many of you who have had the pleasure of working with, learning from, or chatting with Ken know that he is a truly interested and interesting man. A wonderful conversationalist, terrific reader, and champion of authors and illustrators, Ken teaches us all how to be truly engaged in the work and proud of what we create. We wish him well as he sets off on his next adventure.”