Section: Arts

Faculty friendship bring Little, Brown publisher to campus

Faculty friendship bring Little, Brown publisher to campus

By India Amos | Staff Writer

While it is no secret that the Kenyon College faculty is full of individuals who have flourished in their respective fields prior to becoming professors, it can be easy to forget just how successful these individuals have been and currently are when many students only see them as instructors.

Katherine Weber, visiting professor of creative writing, makes known just how much influence she holds in the literary community by bringing her colleague, Reagan Arthur, senior vice president and publisher at Little, Brown and Company to campus yesterday.

When asked about the woman who had once acquired the rights to her novel, Weber had nothing but kind words to say about the immensely successful publisher: “She is funny, she is brilliant and she is just one of the most humane, nice people in publishing.”

Weber has known Arthur for twenty years, and “I have never heard anyone say one mean thing about her,” she adds, “which in publishing is a neat trick.”

The pair met when the rising publisher, who was working as an editor for Picador, spotted Weber’s work and have kept in contact ever since.

While Weber speaks to the character of the successful publisher, Arthur’s credentials prove she truly has a knack for her work. Arthur has worked with literary juggernauts including James Patterson, Tina Fey and Kate Atkinson.

She continues to make headlines by publishing bestselling hits such as The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian.

The novels Arthur chooses to support are unique, and they span across a wide variety of genres.

Weber, who herself is a published fiction writer, has complete faith in the seemingly random novels Arthur chooses to support.

“I do think that Reagan Arthur’s success really lies with her incredible eye. She has a particular sort of taste, and she spots winners,” Weber said.

But that is not to say that Arthur is only concerned with publishing the next epic novel.

Weber sheds some insight into that front, and said, “She knows how to pick literary blockbusters, but she has gone out of her way to publish the more obscure kind of literary books that are not necessarily going to sell very well. But there is a place for them, and they have always been on her list, as well.”

Arthur’s success is well-deserved. While she has a strong career, she has also managed to keep being the kind editor Weber met all those years ago.

She is clearly passionate about publishing quality novels, and according to Weber, “I think authors love being edited and published by her, and I think people love working for her and working on her books.” Arthur succeeds in every sense of the word, and through the books she chooses to edit and publish, she proves that she wants to spread her success to others.

Arthur is also eager to spread her insight in the world of publishing to the Kenyon community by “talking about publishing,” Weber says, “past, present and future.”

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