Hope Dellon, former longtime editor at St. Martin's Press, died on February 19 surrounded by family in New York. She was 67.
Dellon joined St. Martin's as an editorial assistant in 1975 after a stint at Harper & Row, and was named an editor in 1977. Dellon eventually became an executive editor for the imprint from which she formally retired last month following an extended medical leave, noting on social media, "it was my life's work, and I miss it."
During her decades-spanning career at St. Martin's she worked with a number of high profile books, including those from Louise Penny, Bernard Cornwell, M. C. Beaton, Margaret George, Daisy Goodwin, Andrew Morton, Allison Pearson, Gail Tsukiyama, Therese Fowler, Kathleen Rooney, Erica Swyler, Alan Brennert, Julian Fellowes, Laura Joh Rowland, Jane Cleland, Becky Masterman, Tessa Byrd, and many, many others.
Friends at St. Martin's remember Dellon as "not just a brilliant editor, but an extraordinary woman whose interests were deep, passionate and wide ranging" and imbued by her and her husband of 40-plus years Charles into their two daughters.
Colleagues note that "she was unafraid of controversy and conflict, but always with the best interests of her books and authors in mind"---a trait perhaps best exemplified by her willingness to help acquire and then kill a book with a $4.5 million advance (or her willingness to become an Amazon Prime member specifically so they'd lose money shipping her a refrigerator for free).
St. Martin's editor-in-chief George Witte remembers her as "our author champion, wise counsel, acute reader, dead-honest conscience, careful mentor, house royal watcher, Austen obsessive, and beloved colleague."
Collectively, colleagues say that, "during her 44 years at St. Martin's, she endowed the company with so much of her inimitable spirit and is responsible for so much of what SMP is today...[T]hose who had the privilege to work with her were invariably better for the experience. We will not be the same without her."
And this writer will always remember Thanksgiving just three months ago, standing in my kitchen talking about the latest industry happenings with my cousin Hope.
A fund at the New York Public Library has been created in her honor. Those wishing to contribute can do so here.