September 2, 2020, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Join VCNY for a conversation with Vassar alumnae/i on the current state of the book publishing industry as it grapples with both the lasting impact of the pandemic and this summer’s national reckoning with racial injustice. Representing all facets of publishing—from marketing to agenting to digital production—our alumnae/i will offer insight into how the industry is responding to and will remember this pivotal moment in history.
Rachel Altemose ’19 is currently an agent's assistant at Salky Literary Management, a small boutique agency that mainly represents literary fiction and narrative-driven nonfiction. As a member of the Vassar class of 2019, she majored in English and drama and completed a semester abroad at Oxford University. While a senior at Vassar, Rachel also interned at Eden Street Literary Agency where she primarily worked with children's, middle grade, and YA authors. Some of the authors she has had the pleasure of working with or for in her short career are Anne Tyler, Ann Petry, Dan Gutman, Matt Norman, Chris Cander, Lois Ehlert, and Gloria Whelan.
Ruth Bolster ’14 has been working at W.W. Norton since graduation. She has held a variety of jobs in a variety of departments, including editorial assistant, digital product specialist, sales representative, and marketing manager.
Christopher Gonzalez ’15 is a queer Puerto Rican writer and publishing professional living in New York. His writing appears or is forthcoming in The Nation, The Forge, Little Fiction, and elsewhere. He currently oversees trade ebook production for Macmillan Publishers.
Kayla Lightner ’18 is a junior agent and assistant at Ayesha Pande Literary. Prior to joining the wonderful team at APL, she worked at Liza Dawson Associates. Kayla is also a member of the We Need Diverse Books Adult Internship Grant Committee. A Georgia native with a BA in English from Vassar College, Kayla worked as a fashion market assistant at Harper’s Bazaar and a freelance writer at Creative Loafing Atlanta before finding her way to publishing. An adventurous reader, Kayla loves stories—across commercial fiction, literary fiction, and nonfiction—that masterfully straddle the line between story-telling and teaching her something new. She’s particularly enamored with speculative fiction that centers black voices, humorous essay collections, and compelling family sagas.
Brian McLendon ’92, Vice President, Associate Publisher/Marketing Director of Grand Central Publishing and Twelve at Hachette Book Group, oversees marketing and advertising for the Grand Central Publishing division; leads the franchise author program for such bestselling authors as David Baldacci, Sandra Brown, Harlan Coben, Preston & Child, and Nicholas Sparks, among others; develops publishing and launch strategies for a wide array of fiction and nonfiction titles across an array of categories and genres; and works closely with Hachette's Marketing Strategy team to develop and implement new marketing initiatives and best practices. He started his career as a bookseller and has worked at both Simon & Schuster and Random House, where he was director of publicity at Ballantine Books.
Jennifer Rappaport ’93 is managing editor of MLA style resources at the Modern Language Association. She received a BA in English and French from Vassar College and an MA in comparative literature from New York University. Before coming to the MLA, she worked as an acquisitions editor at Oxford University Press and as a freelance copy editor and translator for commercial and academic publishers.
This discussion will be moderated by Talya Phelps ’19 (Alliance for Young Artists & Writers).
Zoom details will be emailed upon registration.
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