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Sonny Mehta: Recipient of the Maxwell E. Perkins Award

The Center for Fiction is pleased to announce that Sonny Mehta, Chairman & Editor in Chief, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group is the recipient of its 2018 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction.

The award was presented to Mr. Mehta at the Center’s December 11 Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner in New York City. Upon the announcement Mr. Mehta said: “I am honored to be receiving this award and humbled by the list of its previous winners.”

ABOUT SONNY MEHTA

Sonny Mehta

ABOUT SONNY MEHTA

Ajai Singh “Sonny” Mehta is Editor in Chief of Alfred A. Knopf Publishers. He is also Chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, which includes Knopf, Doubleday, Nan A. Talese, Pantheon, Schocken, Vintage/Anchor, and Everyman’s Library.

Since his arrival at Knopf in 1987, Sonny has maintained and enhanced the house’s international reputation for literature and bookmaking of the highest quality. He is also highly regarded for his innovative direction of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, particularly for the complete redesign and expansion of Vintage Books. Long a quality trade paperback publisher, it is now the leader in its field. In 1991, he orchestrated the relaunch of Everyman’s Library—one of the most extensive and distinguished libraries of classics in the world—in beautifully printed, affordable hardcover editions. During his time at Knopf, Sonny has worked with and published many notable authors, including John Banville, Bill Buford, Peter Carey, Bill Clinton, William Dalrymple, Katherine Dunn, James Ellroy, Nora Ephron, Katharine Graham, Robert Harris, Carl Hiaasen, Kazuo Ishiguro, P. D. James, Stieg Larsson, Rohinton Mistry, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Jo Nesbo, Michael Ondaatje,  Graham Swift, and Anne Tyler. Under Mehta’s watch, Knopf has published Toni Morrison, V.S. Naipaul, Alice Munro, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Richard Russo, Orhan Pamuk, Anne Rice, and Cormac McCarthy, among others.

Under Sonny’s leadership, Knopf Doubleday authors have been awarded 34 Pulitzer Prizes, 12 National Book Awards, 30 National Book Critics Circle Awards, 6 Man Booker Prizes, and 3 Nobel Prizes. In 2011, the London Book Fair presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in international publishing.

Born in India in 1942, Sonny was educated at the Lawrence School, Sanawar, and at Cambridge University. Prior to joining Knopf, he worked with such notable authors as Ryszard Kapuscinski, Germaine Greer, and Douglas Adams. He began his publishing career in London as an Editorial Assistant at Rupert Hart-Davis Ltd., before going on to found Paladin Books. Following that, he was Editorial Director of Granada Paperbacks, comprising the Panther, Mayflower, and Paladin imprints. In 1972, he served as Editorial Director and, later, Publishing Director of Pan Books, where he was instrumental in establishing the highly successful Picador trade paperback imprint.