Susan Kamil, longtime publisher and editor, dead at 69

NEW YORK — Susan Kamil, a revered editor and publisher who found critical and commercial success with authors ranging from Salman Rushdie and Ta-Nehisi Coates to Elizabeth Strout and Sophie Kinsella, has died at age 69.

Random House Publishing Group President Gina Centrello announced that Kamil died Sunday, eight days before her 70th birthday, from complications relating to lung cancer. Kamil, who joined the industry more than 40 years ago, was most recently executive vice-president and publisher of Random House and imprints such as Dial Press and One World.

“Susan was one of the great editors, and working with her has been the best experience of my writing life,” Rushdie said in a statement. “Her clarity and sharpness were invaluable to me and I trusted her instincts always. She was also one of the loveliest human beings I have known, and I grew to love her very much. It’s a devastating loss for so many of us.”

Her death was widely mourned on social media. Lena Dunham, whose bestselling “Not That Kind of Girl” was published by Kamin, called her an “inimitable force” who gave “the best notes & best hugs.” Laura Zigman, Elizabeth McCracken and other authors also tweeted tributes. Some of the fall’s most prominent books were completed under Kamil’s leadership, among them Rushdie’s Booker Prize-nominated novel “Quichotte”; Coates’ debut novel, “The Water Dancer”; Prince’s posthumous memoir, “The Beautiful Ones”; and Strout’s “Olive, Again.”

Kamil’s many editing credits included “Quichotte,” Kinsella’s “Shopaholic” novels, Strout’s “My Name is Lucy Barton” and Allegra Goodman’s “Kaaterskill Falls,” a finalist for the National Book Award in 1998.

Kamil “must have read this manuscript five, six, maybe seven times,” Goodman told Publishers Weekly at the time the novel came out. “She wrote on every single page all over in pencil — and she did that twice. She cared so deeply for this book and the characters in it. She would talk about them as if they were real people, which is how I feel about it — but you don’t expect other people to feel the same way.”

Born and raised in New York City and a graduate of George Washington University, Kamil spent the early part of her publishing career at Macmillan, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and Simon & Schuster, where she befriended publisher Joni Evans. When Evans moved over to Random House in the early 1990s, she founded the Turtle Bay imprint and named Kamil executive editor. Her other Random House positions included the editorial leader of Bantam Books and editor-in-chief of the Random House imprint.

“My heart is broken with the devastating news of Susan Kamil’s death,” Strout said in a statement. “She was an incredible person, an unbelievable editor, and a wonderful friend.”

Kamil is survived by her husband, Bob Kohn, two stepchildren and two brothers.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

Red Deer woman lives 102 years with humour, ‘gentle strength’ — and porridge

Minnie Deibert was surrounded by family and friends at her birthday party Sunday

Boy escapes serious injury after falling from third-storey window

SURREY, B.C. — A little boy is very lucky to have escaped… Continue reading

Harmonic singing for young women will be taught at a fall workshop in Red Deer

The Hearts of Harmony Chorus is presenting the Nov. 16 session

‘Crying out for help:’ Calgary radicalization program evolves to help others

CALGARY — The soft-spoken young man wasn’t being recruited by neo-Nazis or… Continue reading

Victoria pledges to plant 5,000 trees as part of United Nations challenge

Victoria is promising to plant 5,000 trees on public and private land… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Liberals pitch middle-class savings as second full week of campaign beckons

OTTAWA — The Liberals tried to turn the page on Justin Trudeau’s… Continue reading

Democrats blast latest Trump crisis. But what will they do?

WASHINGTON — A whistleblower’s complaint over President Donald Trump’s interactions with a… Continue reading

Face transplant recipient’s donor face now failing

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A woman who was severely burned in a domestic… Continue reading

Charity boat with 182 migrants waits to dock in Europe

A non-profit-run ship carrying 182 migrants rescued on the Mediterranean Sea sailed… Continue reading

Singh-Trudeau meeting will be private, say Liberals, but no time set yet

OTTAWA — The Liberal Party pledged Saturday to keep private the details… Continue reading

Glen Assoun calls for reform in how Ottawa considers cases of wrongful conviction

HALIFAX — Tethered to an ankle monitor and alone in a British… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Saturday nights $9 million Lotto 649 jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $9 million jackpot… Continue reading

Most Read