Pantheon and Schocken Books will no longer be a division of Alfred A. Knopf, instead operating as an independent imprint alongside Knopf, Doubleday and Vintage/Anchor, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group president and publisher Maya Mavjee wrote in a letter to staff today. The move, Mavjee wrote, is part of an "expansion plan" meant to ensure that Pantheon and Schocken will "stand as an equal and fourth pillar in the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group."
The separation of Pantheon and Schocken from Knopf has been a while in the making. Lisa Lucas, senior v-p and publisher of Pantheon and Schocken, who was hired by Penguin Random House to lead the imprints in June of 2020, had already been reporting to Mavjee since June, when the group "made the decision to expand and align Pantheon alongside the other imprints," a representative of KDPG said. Before then, Lucas had been reporting to Reagan Arthur, who was named executive v-p and publisher of Knopf, Pantheon, and Schocken, succeeding Sonny Mehta, in January 2020, and is now executive v-p and publisher of Knopf. In addition, Erroll McDonald, who had acquired books for both Pantheon and Knopf since 1990, has done so exclusively for Knopf since this July, when he was named v-p and executive editor at the imprint.
"Under Lisa’s management, and with her energy, brilliance, and passion—coupled with her steadfast commitment to writers and their work—this new direction both will honor the past and will help our company pivot into the future," Mavjee wrote. "This is a thrilling new era for Pantheon and Schocken Books. I’m excited to see what Lisa and her incredible colleagues have in store for future readers and our bookseller partners."
New hires at the two imprints include executive editor Naomi Gibbs, in September; editorial director Denise Oswald, in April; and senior editor Maria Goldverg, who moved to Pantheon from Vintage Anchor in April. All three report to Lucas. The imprints will also be hiring for several new editorial positions, which will be focused on nonfiction and graphic novels, Mavjee wrote in her memo. Pantheon and Schocken Books will continue to publish 40-45 frontlist titles a year.
"We couldn’t be prouder to have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen, reinvigorate, and revitalize such iconic imprints—to retain the sterling, nearly-eighty-year-old legacy, while adding bold, modern, radical voices for a new generation of Pantheon and Schocken Books readers," Lucas said in a statement.