Cugnoni leaves Vintage after publisher role made redundant

Cugnoni leaves Vintage after publisher role made redundant

Vintage publisher Rachel Cugnoni is leaving the company with immediate effect after her role was made redundant.

The Penguin Random House division said it had decided to make the central position of publisher in the division’s editorial structure redundant and "focus on the leadership of Vintage’s imprints at publishing director level". The publishing directors will continue to report directly to managing director Hannah Telfer.

Cugnoni became Vintage publisher in 2018, working alongside the imprint's publishing directors to support editorial colleagues, while helping to shape the strategic direction of the division. “Her publishing acumen, passion, curiosity and innovation across four decades has had a significant influence on the division’s many publishing successes,” Vintage said.

She first joined the company in 1989, working first in the publicity and marketing departments at Chatto & Windus and Jonathan Cape before setting up literary sports list Yellow Jersey Press in 1998. The imprint "quickly became synonymous with exceptional sports writing", Vintage said, picking up the William Hill Sports Book award four times and paving the way for a boom in bestselling cycling books.

In 2002 she took over the Vintage Paperback list, publishing prize-winning and bestselling writers including Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Sebastian Faulks, Mark Haddon, Ian McEwan, Haruki Murakami, Edward St Aubyn, Rose Tremain and Jeanette Winterson. She also brought Helen Fielding to the list in 2013 with her bestseller Mad About The Boy.

Vintage called her “an instinctive and pioneering publisher” who launched Vintage Classics alongside her colleague Liz Foley in 2006. More recently, she has worked with the cookery writer Rukmini Iyer on her hugely successful Roasting Tin series.

Cugnoni said: “As I left No 32 Bedford Square one late autumn afternoon in 1989 I was so shocked that I had just been offered a job to work at Chatto & Windus that I had to sit down on the steps. My distinct and memorable thought was that my life in that moment had become three-dimensional in that it was going to be spent side by side with those who edited, marketed, bought, sold, printed, designed and wrote books. It was a dazzling thought. And now 32 years later that has come to an end but I feel privileged to have had the experience – a job that helped make me who I am and that I in turn loved enough to give my best self to. There are lots of people to thank – colleagues, writers and agents who have helped me along the way and who have made it so very enjoyable – I am full of gratitude and affection for you all and now look forward to reading the books you publish with an open heart – untarnished by competition.”

Telfer said: “Rachel’s contribution to Vintage is immeasurable; her publishing instincts have influenced Vintage at every level, and she has an unerring ability to bring alive the vision for Vintage’s publishing while continually identifying the small details that open up a book’s potential. Rachel’s voice within Vintage is distinctive; always straight-talking, sometimes provocative, always in service of authors and their readers. I will miss her singular talent and am deeply grateful for the inspirational legacy that Rachel will leave behind.”

Her last working day at Vintage is 15th September. She can be contacted at rcugnoni@gmail.com.