Penguin Books

Penguin Books

Overview

In the early 1930’s, most publishers thought the market for quality books was limited to a handful of elite readers. Allen Lane, then managing director of the Bodley Head, a British publishing company, had other ideas. While searching for something to read on his trip back to London after visiting Agatha Christie—and only finding popular magazines and reprints of Victorian novels in the railway station kiosk—he was convinced that there was a need for moderately priced editions of good-quality contemporary writing.

Setting up his business in the crypt of London’s Trinity Church, he began to reprint quality fiction and nonfiction in low-cost paperback editions. In July 1935, he revolutionized publishing with the introduction of the first ten Penguin paperbacks. Within a year, more than one hundred titles were in print and one million Penguin books had been sold. In 1946, Allen Lane published classical scholar E.V. Rieu‘s translation of The Odyssey which went on to sell three million copies worldwide. That was the beginning of the Penguin Classics. Lane then asked Rieu to commission translations of other works for the new series. Little did Lane realize the impact his “paperback revolution” had on reading—today, almost 80 years later, more than 600 million paperbacks are sold annually worldwide. Now Penguin and Penguin Classics trade paperbacks and eBooks carry the most recognized logo of any book publisher in the world, with a list as stimulating and diverse as readers themselves.

Covering such subjects as literature, biography, memoir, history, science, business, psychology, popular reference, poetry and self-help, the Penguin list now has more than 3,000 books in print in the United States.

Penguin has long been committed to publishing great fiction and poetry, including the work of Nobel laureates, National Book Award winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, Man Booker winners, and bestselling authors. Chris Abani, Sebastian Barry, T. C. Boyle, Geraldine BrooksJ. M. Coetzee, Carl Dennis, Joel Dicker, Rita Dove, Kim Edwards, Jasper Fforde, Magnus Flyte, Tana French, Nadine Gordimer, Sophie Hannah, A.S.A Harrison, Deborah Harkness, Terrence Hayes, Sun-Mi Hwang, Jan Karon, Garrison Keillor, William Kennedy, Jack Kerouac, Philip Kerr, Ken Kesey, Sue Monk Kidd, John le Carré, Janice Y. K. Lee, Drew Magary, Adrian Matejka, Arthur Miller, Jojo Moyes, Robin Oliveira, Stewart O’Nan, Ruth Ozeki, Katherine Pancol, Thomas Pynchon, Ann Ross, Zadie Smith, Wallace Stegner, John Steinbeck, Amy Tan, Amor Towles, William Trevor, William Vollmann, David Foster Wallace, and Carlos Ruiz Zafón are only a few of the writers whose work is published by Penguin.

On the nonfiction side, Penguin publishes many such knowledgeable and wonderful writers as Liaquat Ahamed, David Allen, John M. Barry, Antony Beevor, John Berendt, Alan Blinder, Daniel James Brown, David Byrne, Novella Carpenter, Rosanne Cash, Ron Chernow, Amy Chua, Alexa Chung, Steve Coll, Matthew Crawford, Jared Diamond, Norman Doidge, Niall Ferguson, Zlata Filipovic, Roger Fisher, Joshua Foer, Paul French, Elizabeth Gilbert, Adam Grant, Paul Greenberg, Robert Greene, Alan Greenspan, Linda Greenlaw, Phil JacksonPaul Johnson, Tony Judt, Mary Karr, John Keegan, Maria Konnikova, Mark Kurlansky, Ray Kurzweil, Aung San Suu Kyi , David Laskin, Charlie LeDuff, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Robert MacFarlane, Manning Marable, Dan Morrison, David Nasaw, Nathaniel Philbrick, Steven Pinker, Michael Pollan, Vicki Robin, Sir Ken Robinson, Nouriel Roubini, Arundhati Roy, Eric Schlosser, Leslie Marmon Silko, Martin Sixsmith, Rebecca Solnit, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jonathan Spence, Amy Tan, Lewis Thomas, Krista Tippett, Jim Trelease, Scott Turow, Sudhir Venkatesh, Garry Wills, Daniel Yergin and many other great writers.

Penguin Mysteries are a select and diverse group of titles that round out the Penguin list with stellar domestic and international bestsellers including works by Nancy Atherton, Andrea Camilleri, Craig Johnson, Donna Leon, M.L. Longworth, C.J. Sansom, Georges Simenon and Fred Vargas.

Meet Penguin Books

Kathryn Court

President and Publisher

Kathryn Court joined Penguin Books in 1977 and became Editorial Director two years later. In 1984 she was named Editor in Chief of Viking Penguin and in 1992 Senior Vice-President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of Penguin Books. She was named President of Penguin Books in August 2000. Among the authors she has worked with are Chris Abani, Rennie Airth, Reinaldo Arenas, Sebastian Barry, Antony Beevor, Andrea Camilleri, Alexa Chung, J.M. Coetzee, Slavenka Drakulic, David Esterly, Robert Fagles, Blaine Harden, Craig Johnson, Garrison Keillor, Sheila Kohler, David Laskin, John le Carré, Janice Y.K. Lee, Krys Lee, Simon Lelic, Charlie Lovett, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Keith McCafferty, M. J. McGrath, Rebecca Makkai, John Mortimer, Robin Oliveira, Linda Olsson, Grayson Perry, Vicki Robin, Sir Ken Robinson, Richard Rodriguez, C.J. Sansom, Dava Sobel, Jim Trelease, William Trevor, Fred Vargas, Mo Yan and Tom Zoellner.

Patrick Nolan

Patrick Nolan

Vice President, Editor in Chief & Associate Publisher

Patrick Nolan joined Penguin Books as Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief in 2012 after serving for twelve years as Trade Paperback Sales Director for Penguin Group. Now overseeing the editorial direction and shape of Penguin Books’ publishing program, his list of current and forthcoming authors includes Matthias Hollwich (New Aging), Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive), Daniel Klein (Travels with Epicurus), Chris Anderson and David Sally (The Numbers Game), Ben Lyttleton (Twelve Yards), Alex Gilvarry (One of the National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35), Robbie Rogers (Coming Out to Play), Kathleen Flinn (Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good), and Mario Giordano (1000 Feelings for Which There are No Names). In his previous role as Sales Director he contributed to such long-running bestsellers as Eat, Pray, Love; The Omnivore’s Dilemma; The Secret Life of Bees; The Kite Runner; and The Help. He also served five years as Marketing Director of Perigee and has been Associate Publisher of Riverhead Books and Trade Paperback Marketing Director for Portfolio and Sentinel. Before coming to Penguin Group, Patrick was Sales Director for Disney/Hyperion and worked at Houghton Mifflin and Waterstones Booksellers.

Penguin Books Newsroom

bright-lines-by-tanwi-nandini-islam
August 19, 2015

The Center for Fiction has announced the seven novels that are finalists for its 2015 First Novel Prize.  Among the nominees is Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam, published by Penguin Books.  This vibrant debut novel, set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, follows three young women and one family struggling to make peace with secrets and their […]

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five-came-back-by-mark-harris
August 12, 2015

New York Times bestselling Penguin Press author Mark Harris has received the Richard Wall Memorial Award his book Five Came Back, which chronicles the wartime experience of five of Hollywood’s most legendary directors. This marks the second time Harris has won this award. He previously won 2010 for his book Pictures at a Revolution. Granted yearly by […]

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the-big-smoke-by-adrian-matejka
July 22, 2015

Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke (Penguin Poets), has been selected as the winner of the 2015 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award in the Regional Author category. The Big Smoke, Adrian Matejka’s third work of poetry, follows legendary heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson’s journey from poverty to the most coveted title in sports […]

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New Releases

Tana French
Sophie Hannah
Georges Simenon
Georges Simenon

Bestsellers

Bessel van der Kolk MD
Adam M. Grant
Phil Jackson
Hugh Delehanty
Jojo Moyes

Coming Soon

Kate Ascher
Kate Gavino
Illustrator: Kate Gavino

Award Winners

William Kennedy
J. M. Coetzee
Daniel Yergin
Josephine Humphreys

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