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Riverhead Books has unveiled its new colophon and the imprint’s art director Helen Yentus takes us inside her creative process in the following Q & A.

How would you describe the inspiration behind the creation of the new Riverhead colophon?
Helen Yentus
My inspiration comes from our authors and the incredibly collaborative working culture we have here at Riverhead, while making a nod to the original logo and our 20-year legacy. It was important for me to have a mark that reflects the fiercely contemporary, hugely varied voices from all over the world that we help bring to readers each year, and at the same time captures the creative energy one feels working here. Seeing these books go from inception to a real object that is put in the hands of readers is a thrill, and capturing that in a colophon was a challenge.

What sparked the timing of this project and what was involved in the production process – from initial concept to final design?

I have been working on this logo since my first day on the job. To be honest, most of the process has been one where I attempt to redesign the logo and then put the project aside either because the outcome is underwhelming, or the timing isn’t right, or both. Part of the timing really has to do with finally coming up with something that feels right for us. After Riverhead_logo_bw_portraitworking here for 6 years, I really feel like I’ve understood our mission and culture enough to be able to tackle it. Riverhead is a place where crazy, outlandish projects are encouraged. We’re pushed every day to come up with new, innovative ways to solve problems, or even to come up with our own problems to solve. It’s all terribly exciting and I think that energy is felt by everyone who works here. I really wanted to have a colophon that could attempt to embody that energy.

What do you hope the new colophon design represents to readers and our colleagues?

My hope is that the colophon captures the sense of emergence that one feels working here. The thrill of seeing a beloved piece of writing go from inception to final product. Hopefully one will feel the strength and sheer will that goes into bringing these projects to the world.

Social media seems to be having a lot of fun with the new Riverhead look.  What is your reaction to that?

It’s been really exciting to see and be a part of. It’s an excellent example of the collaborative effort Riverhead puts into everything. One of us may come up with something, and then everyone gets on board and makes it their own. It really is as fun to work here as it looks.

When and on which books will the new colophon appear? 

The colophon will be Read more…



















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High praise greeted Riverhead’s publication of Sarah Vowell’s Lafayette in the Somewhat United States on Tuesday (10/20). Celebrated for her ability to tell a “story in the most fascinating way possible ” (Paste), Vowell adeptly balances equal parts “laugh-out-loud humor and her characteristic snark” (Washington Post) with “intensive research and historical insight” (Huffington Post). NPR.org raves: “at once light-footed and light-hearted, her histories are — dare I say it — fun… Vowell emerges from the Revolutionary War with an unabashed smile on her face. I’d be surprised if her reader doesn’t, too.” Featured in Time (“informative, funny and insightful.”), The New Yorker, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Mental Floss, USA Today (“Vowell takes on American history as only she can”), and more.  Vowell kicked off her tour with full houses in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, with big venue stops to come in Washington, DC, Boston, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Austin, and Los Angeles. Hear her on Marketplace Weekend, Dinner Party Download, Slate’s The Gist, with much more to come.
The 2015 National Book Awards finalists were announced this week and two books published by the Penguin Publishing Group are in the running for prizes.  Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Riverhead Books) is on the Fiction shortlist. How to be Drawn by Terrance Hayes (Penguin Books) is a finalist in the Poetry category.  He won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2010 for his collection, Lighthead. Congratulations and best of luck to Lauren and Terrance as well as their publishers and everyone involved with these highly praised titles. The winners will be announced at the National Book Awards Ceremony, which takes place Wednesday, November 18 in New York.
Riverhead author Marlon James took home the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his “absorbing and compelling novel“ (Reuters) A Brief History of Seven Killings. On Tuesday, James was presented with the trophy and a £50,000 prize by Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, in a ceremony at Guildhall in London. James is the first Jamaican ever to be awarded the Prize and Chair of the Judges Michael Wood calls the novel “an extraordinary book…It was a book we didn’t actually have any difficulty deciding on—it was a unanimous decision.”  Set in Kingston, Jamaica, where the author was born, the book is a fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976.  Awarded annually, the Man Booker Prize is open to fiction writers of any nationality writing in English, and published in the U.K. A Brief History of Seven Killings has been called “epic in every sense of that word”New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani, a “tour de force” by the Wall Street Journal, and “thrilling and ambitious” by the Los Angeles Times. Congratulations to Marlon James and his Riverhead colleagues as well as everyone involved with this award-winning book.
The literary journal Kirkus Reviews has announced the finalists for its 2015 book prizes, and two Penguin Publishing Group authors and their books are in the running for awards: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Riverhead) in the fiction category and The Deluge by Adam Tooze (Viking) in the nonfiction category.  The Kirkus Prize was founded by Kirkus Reviews in 2014 to recognize outstanding writing by authors whose books have earned a review star in the categories of fiction, nonfiction and young readers literature. The winners, each of whom receives $50,000, will be named October 15 at a ceremony in Austin, Texas. Congratulations and best of luck to Ms. Groff and Mr. Tooze.
The highly anticipated self-help book by Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, which went on sale from Riverhead last week, debuts as a #1 New York Times bestseller (entering at #1 on the Advice, Hot-To and Miscellaneous list) as well as  #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list. PeopleMagazine will feature Liz in their upcoming issue in an incredible spread about her successes as a writer and about “the ripple of inspiration” (Associated Press) readers are sure to find in Big Magic! Liz will also be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on November 4. All of this comes after a wave of attention and rave reviews: The Washington Post writes “Gilbert’s love of creativity is infectious, and there’s a lot of great advice in this sunny book” and Marie Claire advises: “Consider her your own personal life coach”. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post declares: “Elizabeth Gilbert is my new spirit animal”, and Flavorwire calls Big Magic “transformative and valuable.”
Elizabeth Gilbert’s highly anticipated new book Big Magic hit stories from Riverhead on Tuesday (9/22) and the wave of attention has been spectacular. CBS This Morning featured Liz on the day of publication, and then Nightline spoke with Liz about Big Magic, as well as her successful Magic Lessons podcast. Hours after publication, Big Magic reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s bestseller list and she is set to appear on the Dr. Oz Show, as well as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  On top of the dozens of positive reviews from outlets likes The Washington Post, Huffington Post and the Associated Press,  Liz has made a splash on national and local radio with appearances on WBUR-FM’s Here and Now, WNYC’s Studio 360and The Brian Lehrer Show, all within the first couple of days of publication.   Riverhead is excited to see what more #BigMagic is ahead.  
The National Book Foundation announced its 2015 National Book Awards Longlists this week and three titles published by Penguin Publishing Group imprints were recognized.   fates-and-furies-by-lauren-groffFates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Riverhead Books) is on the Longlist for Fiction. The New Yorker, New York Times, Wall Street Journal,NPR, USA Today, and Entertainment Weekly have all commented on the list, with Groff’s name right at the top. The New York Times Book Review praised Groff’s “complex and remarkable novel“ as did Ron Charles at the Washington Post (Lauren Groff just keeps getting better and better… Fates and Furies is a clear-the-ground triumph”), Robin Black for the New York Times Book Review (“Lauren Groff is a writer of rare gifts, and Fates and Furies is an unabashedly ambitious novel that delivers.”) and fellow author Richard Russo, who selected  as the third Book Club Pick for NPR’s Morning Edition. scattered-at-sea-by-amy-gerstlerScattered at Sea by Amy Gerstler (Penguin Books) and How to be Drawn by Terrance Hayes (Penguin Books) are on the Longlist for Poetry.  In How to Be Drawn (Penguin Books), his daring fifth collection, Terrance Hayes, the National Book Award–winning author of Lighthead, explores how we see and are seen. While many of these poems bear the clearest imprint yet of Hayes’s background as a visual artist, they do not strive to describe art so much as inhabit it. Upon publication, How to be Drawn received significant praise, with reviews appearing on NPR.org, Slate, and The New Yorker.  The poems in Amy Gerstler’s eleventh collection, Scattered at Sea (Penguin Poets), are caffeinated, wryly perverse, assured verbal performances that explore notions of gender, ancestry, bereavement and the nature of prayer. Upon publication, Scattered at Sea garnered acclaim from critics at the Boston Globe, the Kansas City Star, and Elizabeth Lund from the Washington Post, who says the book “changes how you view the world.” how-to-be-drawn-by-terrance-hayesCongratulations to the authors and publishers of these outstanding works. The National Book Awards Shortlist will be announced on October 14, with the winners to be announced on November 18 at a dinner in New York.
Riverhead author Marlon James will be traveling to the United Kingdom next month to participate in all the festivities celebrating his Shortlist nomination for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his acclaimed book A Brief History of Seven Killings. James is the first Jamaican ever to be nominated for the award. Congratulations to Marlon for the well-deserved literary attention. The 2015 Man Booker Prize winner will be announced on October 13 at a dinner in London. Start Reading an Excerpt!
Publishers Weekly announced the 40 honorees for its Star Watch 2015, including eight Penguin Random House honorees, featuring one Superstar, our very own Helen Yentus, Art Director of Riverhead Books.  PW’s inaugural Star Watch program recognizes young publishing professionals who have distinguished themselves as future leaders of the industry. When Helen learned she was named the Superstar, she says, “Honestly, I was taken aback. We all work so hard here and I consider myself one part of a team. I feel very honored, but also humbled, I guess, as I don’t necessarily see myself in this way. I am extremely grateful to Madeline, for nominating me for this honor. And mostly I just feel lucky to work in such a creative atmosphere that fosters innovation. The people I work with constantly push me to do better and more interesting things because they themselves are doing them in ways that I would not have thought. It’s thrilling, really.” Helen Yentus In the Star Watch feature in the current edition of Publishers Weekly, Penguin Publishing Group President Madeline McIntosh commented: “Helen Yentus, award-winning art director of Riverhead Books, is a star magician of the very first order. She is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of physical design. Far from working in the lone-artist model, Helen brings collaborative and inspiring energy to the entire Riverhead art team and to collaborations with external talents.”  To read the full Star Watch feature on Helen, clickhere. Star Watch was developed in association with the Frankfurt Book Fair, and as part of the program, as the Superstar Helen was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to the international fair next month. The 40 Stars included 7 more Penguin Random House honorees,  Eve Adler,  Senior Editor, Grosset & Dunlap, Price Stern Sloan; Rachel Kempster Barry, VP, Marketing and Publicity, DK; Joanna Cardenas, Associate Editor, Viking Children’s Books; Nicole Estrin, Advertising & Promotions Coordinator, Berkley Publishing Group; Mallory Grigg, Senior Designer, Penguin Young Readers Group;   Casey McIntyre, Associate Publisher, Razorbill; and Matthew Schwartz, VP, Director of Digital Strategy & Associate Digital Publisher, Random House. They were honored at a party in NYC on Wednesday, September 16. Congratulations to Helen and all of our Penguin Random House honorees! Geoff Kloske, Helen Yentus, Madeline McIntosh With the help of judges from the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Frankfurt Book Fair, and industry consultant Richard Nash, PW selected the honorees from among the more than 250 nominees. The honorees represent every part of the book eco system: booksellers, designers, digital specialists, editors, and publicists. They sell and publish a variety of formats across all categories and genres, from literary fiction to romance, picture books to academic tomes, and comics to classics.