Picador Poetry editor Paterson to stand down after 25 years

Picador Poetry editor Paterson to stand down after 25 years

Picador Poetry editor Don Paterson is standing down, 25 years after the list was first established and he was appointed in the role.

Paterson said 2022 felt like the right moment to step down and hand over the reins as the list marks its 25th anniversary.

The poetry list was first set up by then Picador publisher Peter Straus and Jon Riley in 1997, with Paterson appointed to oversee it. In the two and a half decades since, Picador Poetry has nurtured the careers of writers including Carol Ann Duffy, Kathleen Jamie, Robin Robertson, Jackie Kay, Michael Donaghy, Denise Riley, Paul Farley, Sean O’Brien and Jacob Polley. More recently, it has helped to launch the next generation including Rachael Boast, Kae Tempest, Raymond Antrobus and Rachel Long.

Paterson said: “It’s been my great honour to have overseen the Picador poetry list for a quarter century, and to have helped some of the finest poets of the age find a wide readership. Selfishly, it’s also been an education, and has shaped my own thinking as both a practitioner and lecturer. There is no greater privilege than to be able to sit down with a writer one admires, and get to ask, 'What did you mean by that?'

“I look forward to Picador Poetry going from strength to strength, and hope my successor finds the experience as fulfilling as I have. Twenty-five years on, this seems like the right moment to step down, so that the next generation, and the next 25 years of Picador Poetry, might start to take its new shape.”

Straus commented: “When, decades ago, Pan Macmillan agreed that Picador should set up a poetry list, we, Jon Riley the Picador publisher and myself as editor in chief, were very fortunate to be able to hire Don Paterson. Everyone realised he was a brilliant poet, but no one knew he would be a brilliant poetry editor too. His curation of the list has been both exemplary and remarkable, and he has taken the list forward in huge leaps and bounds. His achievements cannot be overstated and he leaves an extraordinary and enduring legacy.”

Picador will now look to recruit Paterson's successor.

Philip Gwyn Jones, Picador's current publisher, said Paterson was a "paragon among poetry editors, and for a generation his name has been a synonym for attention, rigour, vision, care and craft". He said: "The role he has played and the impact he has had on contemporary poetry in English, as a poet himself and as an editor of other poets, is second to none. Everyone at Picador, past, present and future, is grateful to him for his vision, his work and his legacy. Picador Poetry’s 25th birthday commemorations will provide the ideal occasion at which to honour that, and praise and celebrate Don.”