Publicist-turned-publisher Casey McIntyre, a 2015 PW Star Watch Honoree, died at home in New York on November 12, from ovarian cancer. She was 38.
McIntyre grew up in Manhattan and then in Tenafly, N.J. As a girl she excelled as a competitive swimmer and nurtured her love of reading and creative writing. She carried her passion for the written word to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., where she studied music and creative writing, edited the campus newspaper, and worked as an assistant arts and entertainment editor for Creative Loafing, an alternative weekly in Atlanta. Following her graduation in 2007, McIntyre attended the Denver Publishing Institute, with sights on landing a job in the New York publishing industry. That same year, “She arrived at her first interview at Penguin soaked to the bone from a rainstorm and left as a publicist’s assistant,” her family shared in a remembrance.
McIntyre launched her children’s book career at Penguin Young Readers where she swiftly gained increasing responsibilities as she worked on campaigns and helped launch the career of bestselling author Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy) and worked with such authors as Marie Lu and Loren Long. In early 2012, McIntyre moved to HarperCollins Children’s Books as publicity manager, spearheading the campaigns for the blockbuster Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth as well as for Katherine Applegate’s 2013 Newbery-winning novel The One and Only Ivan and books by Stefan Bachmann and Terry Pratchett, among others.
According to her PW Star Watch profile, McIntyre was then wooed back to Penguin by a former colleague whom she sat next to at Roth’s wedding. In early 2014, McIntyre took on the newly created position of associate publisher of the Razorbill imprint at Penguin Young Readers. She continued her rise in the company and was named v-p and publisher of Razorbill in 2018, and assumed the new role of v-p, editor-at-large, Putnam Books for Young Readers earlier this year. She was recognized for her leadership and insights while crystalizing Razorbill’s direction and playing an instrumental part in the success of such books as All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir, winner of the 2022 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the 2023 Michael L. Printz Award. She spoke to PW in 2015 about her approach to her work. “I am constantly focused on planning and executing publicity campaigns that feel dynamic and extraordinary,” she said. “It’s not just about a few key media hits—it’s about identifying the touch points for a book’s audience and engaging with those readers across a variety of platforms.”
Jen Loja, president of Penguin Young Readers, said in a statement, “Penguin Young Readers and I will miss Casey immensely. It is not only the terrific books that she made, but the sheer joy she took in finding them, making them, and in bringing authors and illustrators to the world that will be missed. We have learned to bring that energy and that love into what we do from Casey and will strive to honor her by continuing the fun and the happiness in the books we make in her honor.”
Shanta Newlin, senior v-p, executive director of publicity at Penguin Young Readers, offered this statement “I first met Casey in 2008 when she was a publicity assistant for Penguin Young Readers. It was clear, even then, that she was going places. Casey radiated a quiet confidence that immediately put you at ease. She was smart, analytical, and always thinking three steps ahead. And she truly loved what she did, whether it was shepherding a new book into the world, making fashion statements with her husband, Andrew, or raising her incredible daughter, Grace! I will miss her dearly.”
Award-winning author Jon Scieszka, who had been working on a project with McIntyre, shared this remembrance: “I first met Casey working publicity for my Guys Read Library of Great Reading series with Harper more than 10 years ago. She was already a complete pro at juggling the avalanche of details, schedules, personalities, and the inevitable unexpected changes. All with her great smile and full-volume laugh.
So when I had a longtime project at Penguin move to Razorbill, I was thrilled to reconnect with my old road pal... now editor Casey! This is my first completely YA/adult book. And Casey and I have been working it for the last two years. We finally have it one edit away from exactly where we want it. I am so sad the world has lost this sparkling, generous person. But I still hear her. And we will finish this book. Together [insert wild Casey laugh here].”
And author Sabaa Tahir wrote in tribute, “Casey was a star, a gift, and a wonderful publisher and advocate. I will remember her smarts and her humor, her love of ice cream, the way she made my kids giggle when she met them, her adoration of her family, the way she loved her authors and their work, and the patience and humor with which she tolerated author shenanigans. She believed in so many of us before we believed in ourselves. She was there for my whole publishing journey, from that first Ember [series] meeting in 2014 to the night I received the National Book Award for All My Rage. I will miss Casey dearly.”
A memorial service and debt jubilee will be held in December; the time and location will be announced soon. Casey’s family is honoring her by anonymously purchasing other people’s medical debt and anonymously forgiving it, via fundraising site RIP Medical Debt. The campaign has surpassed goal after goal after quickly meeting its initial goal of $20,000, and is nearing a new goal of $499,999.
This article has been updated with further information.