Publishing legend Sonny Mehta, who served as Knopf’s editor-in-chief for 32 years, has passed away at the golden age of 77.
Mehta died on Monday due to severe complications from pneumonia, according to a Knopf spokesperson.
Mehta had joined the publishing house in 1987 as editor-in-chief. He was the third person to lead Knopf. In the following decades, he published six recipients of the Nobel Prize (including Toni Morrison, Alice Munro, and Kazuo Ishiguro) and dozens of Pulitzer Prize winners. Under Mehta’s leadership, Knopf acquired bestsellers like E.L. James’ Fifty Shades novels and Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, and books by celebrities and world leaders like Pope John Paul II, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Sheryl Sandberg.
“He was a friend to writers, editors, and booksellers around the world,” a Knopf spokesperson said in a statement. “Mehta was also a gentleman, uniquely so, who cared deeply about his colleagues and the work with which he entrusted them. He was a beloved figure at Knopf, working at the only career he ever wanted. He lived a life in books, of books, and for books and writers.”he added