Nan A. Talese, a much-respected publishing fixture, will retire at the end of 2020 after more than 60 years in the business. Talese, who has had numerous roles in the industry, has run her eponymous imprint at Doubleday since 1990.
Talese began her career at Random House in 1959 as a copyeditor and was promoted to literary editor, the first woman in that position. She then moved on to positions at Simon and Schuster, where she edited Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally and Houghton Mifflin, where she acquired The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy.
Among the many authors she has published are Ian McEwan, Adam Haslett, Alex Kotlowitz, Mia Farrow, Jim Crace, Valerie Martin, Peter Ackroyd, Mary Morris, Louis Begley, Jennifer Egan, Mark Richard, Judy Collins, Barry Unsworth, Antonia Fraser, Thomas Cahill, Janet Wallach, and George Plimpton. Books edited by Talese have been nominated for and won most major book awards, from the Booker Prize to the National Book Award.
To recognize her accomplishments, in 2005 Talese was the first person to receive the Center for Fiction’s Maxwell E. Perkins Award for lifetime achievement.
“While she is a pioneer in publishing, Nan is first and foremost a reader, and her passion for books is well-known,” said Maya Mavjee, president and publisher, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. “She has made a lasting mark on the world of American letters, all the while remaining a cherished and dedicated colleague. Most important, Nan has been a fierce advocate for her authors and their books. Her vast intellect as well as her editorial and publishing acumen will be sorely missed.”
PRH CEO Madeline McIntosh added, “From my first days of selling her list a few decades ago and onward, it has always been a supreme honor to work with Nan and to be connected to her books. Nan’s brilliance, generosity of spirit, and editorial expertise have changed the bookselling world at large. We will all miss working with her immensely.”
Finally, Margaret Atwood noted, “No editor has seen so many changes and done so much in publishing as the legendary and much beloved Nan Talese."
Titles acquired by Talese, but not scheduled to be published prior to her retirement, are being reassigned to new editors and will be published as part of the general Doubleday list.