Susan Kamil, publisher at Random House US, has died at the age of 69.
Random House president and publisher Gina Centrello broke the news to staff earlier today that Kamil passed away from a sudden illness yesterday (8th September). It is understood she suffered complications from lung cancer.
Calling Kamil “vibrant” and “beloved”, Centrello wrote to staff: “Her loss is shattering in so many ways. Susan was a brilliant editor, who guided her beloved authors through the creative process with the greatest insight, energy, and care. As a gifted publisher for the Random House lists, her leadership and generosity of spirit has had a profound and far-reaching impact. Above all, she was a deeply committed, endlessly supportive colleague to all of us—our unwavering, passionate champion.”
She added: “I will share memorial details soon. Please forgive me if further words fail me at this time, other than to speak for us all in saying I will miss her dearly.”
Kamil began her publishing career at Macmillan in the children's book division before joining Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1975. She became executive editor of the new Turtle Bay imprint at Random House, founded by Joni Evans, in 1991.
She was recruited in 1993 by Carole Baron, publisher of Dell/Delacorte at Bantam Doubleday Dell, to revive and lead the iconic Dial Press imprint; later, she became an editorial leader at Bantam Books. She remained with BDD, and its successor parent companies, Random House and Penguin Random House, for more than 25 years in a variety of successively senior publishing and editorial roles. Centrello, head of the Random House Publishing Group, appointed her editor-in-chief of the Random House imprint in 2008. Two years later, she was promoted to executive vice president and publisher, and was given responsibly for the all the Random House-related imprints, which now include Random House, Dial Press, Spiegel & Grau, One World, and Hogarth.
Among the Random House and Dial Press authors she edited personally are Salman Rushdie, Sting, Elizabeth Strout, Annie Barrows, Sophie Kinsella, and Ruth Reichl.
On social media, Kinsella said she was "devastated" by the news of Kamil's death. "We became so close over the many years we worked together - she was a brilliant publisher, editor and friend. I will miss her voice, her laugh, her wisdom and her hugs," she wrote.
Gary Schteyngart, also one of Kamil's authors, wrote that she was "one of the greats, generous and hilariously witty, a writer’s dream of an editor. This is a sad day for American literature, but her work lives on in the hands of millions of readers."
In a statement to the New York Times, Rushdie wrote: "Susan was one of the great editors, and working with her has been the best experience of my writing life. Her clarity and sharpness were invaluable to me and I trusted her instincts always. She was also one of the loveliest human beings I have known, and I grew to love her very much. It's a devastating loss for so many of us."