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Knopf Editor in Chief Sonny Mehta Dies at 77

Sonny Mehta. Photo: Leslie Jean-Bart

Sonny Mehta, the editor in chief of Knopf and chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, died yesterday. A publishing legend, Mehta worked with a number of authors who went on to win the Nobel Prize: Kazuo Ishiguro, Alice Munro, Orhan Pamuk, Imre Kertész, V. S. Naipaul, and Toni Morrison. Other authors he worked with include: Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, John Banville, Julian Barnes, Anne Carson, Ted Chiang, Michael Crichton, Edwidge Danticat, Katherine Dunn, James Ellroy, Nathan Englander, Richard Flanagan, Yaa Gyasi, Carl Hiaasen, P. D. James, Jhumpa Lahiri, Stieg Larsson, Emily St. John Mandel, Gabriel García Márquez, Cormac McCarthy, Lorrie Moore, Haruki Murakami, Jo Nesbø, Sharon Olds, Michael Ondaatje, Tommy Orange, Anne Rice, Karen Russell, Richard Russo, Anne Tyler, John Updike, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Robert Gates, Oliver Sacks, Patti Smith, Cheryl Strayed... The list goes on. In a press release, Knopf states: “Mehta’s contributions to the world of letters and publishing are without precedent. His exacting standards—in editorial, production, design, marketing, and publicity—were a beacon to the book industry and beyond. He was a friend to writers, editors, and booksellers around the world. Mehta was also a gentleman, uniquely so, who cared deeply about his colleagues and the work with which he entrusted them. He was a beloved figure at Knopf, working at the only career he ever wanted. He lived a life in books, of books, and for books and writers.”

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