Overview

In the early 1930s, 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 finding only 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 titles carry the most recognized logo of any book publisher in the world, with a list as stimulating and diverse as readers themselves.

 

Meet Penguin

Patrick Nolan

Patrick Nolan

Vice President, Editor in Chief & Deputy 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, including reprints from Viking and Penguin Press generating trade paperback bestsellers including Alexander HamiltonEleanor Oliphant is Completely FineLittle Fires Everywhere, and A Gentleman in Moscow as well as trade paperback originals such as The Perfect NannyThe New Me, and Johanna Basford’s adult coloring books.  His list of current and forthcoming authors includes New York Times bestselling author Matt Haig (The Midnight Library & Reasons to Stay Alive)Benjamin Taylor (The Hue and Cry at Our House), Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart (I Think, Therefore I Draw), Robbie Rogers (Coming Out to Play), and Yiftach Reicher Atir (The English Teacher). In his previous role as Sales Director he contributed to such long-running bestsellers as Eat, Pray, LoveThe Omnivore’s DilemmaThe Secret Life of BeesThe 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.

Elda Rotor

Elda Rotor

Vice President and Publisher, Penguin Classics

Elda Rotor is Vice President and Publisher for Penguin Classics. She has created and edited several series including Penguin Civic Classics, Penguin Threads, Couture Classics, Penguin Horror, Penguin Drop Caps, and the Penguin Orange Collection. She oversees the classic publishing programs for John Steinbeck, Arthur Miller, Shirley Jackson, William Golding, and the Pelican Shakespeare series. In 2013, Ms. Rotor co-produced, edited and narrated Poems By Heart from Penguin Classics, named one of the Best Apps of the Year by Apple. For Penguin Books, she edited the New York Times-bestselling The Inaugural Address by Barack Obama, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry edited by Rita Dove, The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution by Richard Beeman, and The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson. She has worked with a wide range of contributors including Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Guillermo del Toro, David Simon, Tom Perrotta, Rebecca Mead, James Earl Jones, Laura Miller, Francine Prose, Stanley McChrystal, Michael Dirda, Jeff VanderMeer, and Lois Lowry. Prior to coming to Penguin, Elda was a Senior Editor at Oxford University Press.

Kate Stark

Vice President, Associate Publisher, Director of Marketing

Kate Stark is senior vice president, associate publisher, and director of marketing for the Viking, Riverhead, Penguin Books, and Penguin Classics imprints. She joined Penguin in 2004 and has worked on numerous New York Times bestselling titles, including Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, Dan H. Pink’s Drive, Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, and more recently Steven Johnson’s How We Got To Now, Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies, Jan Karon’s Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train. Stark has developed marketing campaigns for Khaled Hosseini, Junot Diaz, Jon Ronson, Emma Straub, Meg Wolitzer, and Sue Grafton.

Meet More

John Siciliano

Executive Editor, Penguin Books and Penguin Classics

John Siciliano is executive editor, Penguin Books and Penguin Classics. He publishes writers from around the world—classic and contemporary, famous and forgotten and first-time—and is especially interested in literary fiction, the literary supernatural, memoir, travel, cultural history, humor, food, and wellness. His list includes the New York Times bestsellers The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker, Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, Philomena by Martin Sixsmith, and There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya; Lydia Davis’s award-winning, nationally bestselling translation of Madame Bovary; Philip Pullman’s nationally bestselling Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm; the nationally bestselling, Goncourt Prize–winning novel The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani; the Man Booker International Prize finalist Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi; the World Fantasy Award–winning anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales; the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize winners The Corpse Exhibition by Hassan Blasim and Ten White Geese by Gerbrand Bakker; and the international bestsellers The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim, and Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles. He has commissioned introductions for Penguin Classics from Lena Dunham, James Franco, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tony Kushner, Jonathan Franzen, James Wood, Kelly Link, Ransom Riggs, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Neil Gaiman, and Rupi Kaur, and he has participated in editorial fellowships in Jerusalem, Istanbul, Sofia, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Salzburg, Oslo, Helsinki, Krakow, Sharjah, Tokyo, and Taipei. Before joining Penguin, he worked at Bantam, Overlook, and Vintage.

Meg Leder

Executive Editor, Penguin Books

Meg Leder publishes a wide range of nonfiction and is looking for books that are as beautiful to read as they are to hold, as well as works from singular voices contributing to meaningful dialogue in the world today. Her list includes Keri Smith’s multimillion-copy international and New York Times bestseller Wreck This Journal; Johanna Basford’s multimillion-copy international and New York Times bestseller Lost Ocean; critically acclaimed poet and writer Yrsa Daley-Ward’s poetry collection bone and memoir The Terriblejournalist Kassia St. Clair’s The Secret Lives of ColorWired writer Matt Simon’s Plight of the Living Dead and ALA Alex-award winning The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar; and Colombian bestseller Amalia Andrade’s You Always Change the Love of Your Life (for Another Love Or Another Life). Before joining Penguin Books, she worked as an editor for Perigee Books, McGraw-Hill Trade, and Writer’s Digest Books, as well as a bookseller for Joseph-Beth Books and a writing instructor at The Ohio State University.

Margaux Weisman

Editor

Margaux Weisman publishes a diverse and eclectic range of fiction, and some narrative nonfiction such as memoir and essays. While her taste is varied and unique, she gravitates towards bold, dark, daring or subversive stories, often with a feminist bent. She is interested in the full spectrum of the marketplace, from very literary with gorgeous and surprising language to commercially accessible and addictively readable, from psychological suspense to women’s fiction to speculative and fantasy crossover, but always with ambitious and stylish prose, a singular voice, and content that challenges cultural norms or the conventions of genre.  Prior to joining Penguin in 2018, her projects included Whiting Award winner Tony Tulathimutte’s PRIVATE CITIZENS, the New York Times Notable book DEAD GIRLS by Alice Bolin, Andrea Lawlor’s PAUL TAKES THE FORM OF A MORTAL GIRL, Tara Isabella Burton’s SOCIAL CREATURE, and Kimberly King Parsons’ BLACK LIGHT. Her forthcoming titles at Penguin include Narrative 30 Below contest winner Ani Katz’s A GOOD MAN, Eun-young Choi’s SHOKO’S SMILE, and Leigh Stein’s SELF CARE. She is also a writer and received her MFA from The New School.

Victoria Savanh

Associate Editor

Victoria Savanh joined Penguin Books in 2014. She edits original fiction and nonfiction, and is interested in voice-driven literary fiction, memoir, wellness, and cultural criticism. Authors she has worked with include  Sebastian BarryAndrea CamilleriJ. M. Coetzee,  John le Carré, Rebecca Makkai, Keith McCaffertyLinda Olsson, Thomas Travisano, and Elizabeth Wilhide, among others. Forthcoming titles include I Know You Know Who I Am by Peter Kispert, The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell, Want Me: A Sex Writer’s Journey into the Heart of Desire by Tracy Clark-Flory, Asian Women: Traiblazers and Luminaries by Doris Ho-Kane, and To Cook a Bear by Mikael Niemi. Before joining Penguin, she worked as a bookseller while completing internships at Tin House.

Matt Klise

Associate Editor

Matt Klise joined Penguin Books in 2015 after working as a bookseller. He is looking for narratives that engage critically with the world and that expand our understanding of our lives and one another, including works of history, science writing that distills complex research down for a general readership, and anything with a philosophical bent. Similarly, he is looking for memoir and travel writing that can introduce readers to unique lives and cultures, particularly through engagement with the arts, food, the outdoors, or sports; and for business books that teach skills that can be applied to everyday life. He is also the movie and TV tie-in coordinator for Viking and Penguin. His current and forthcoming titles include Can I Recycle This? by Jennie Romer and illustrated by Christie Young, Super Fly by Jonathan Balcombe, The New Retirement Savings Time Bomb by Ed Slott, and Draft Animals by Phil Gaimon, as well as a forthcoming book on food and climate change from the activist George Monbiot. He has also worked on books including the LA Times Book Award-winning The Hue And Cry at our House by Benjamin Taylor and Matt Haig’s internationally bestselling memoir Reasons to Stay Alive.

Gretchen Schmid

Assistant Editor

Gretchen Schmid joined Penguin Books in 2016. She is interested in narrative nonfiction, especially closely reported stories that explore the effects of major political, cultural, economic, or social issues on individual people; incisive and smart memoirs and biographies, particularly those that engage with broader themes or subjects; and character-driven literary fiction, including translations, satire and black humor, and upmarket novels with a historical or international setting. She has worked with several bestselling and award-winning authors, including Leila Slimani, Bianca Bosker, Flynn Berry, Vivek Shanbhag, Kirk W. Johnson, and Mona Awad. Before coming to Penguin, she was an assistant agent at The French Publishers’ Agency.

Gretchen Schmid's Featured Titles