Judith Kendra, publishing director of Ebury imprint Rider Books, is retiring this September after 25 years with the publisher.
Kendra was first employed at Rider in 1993 on a freelance, part time basis to "maintain the backlist". She went on to be made publishing director in 1999, a role in which she has been saluted for having "revived the list ... into one of the most eclectic, and profitable, imprints within the Penguin Random House family".
Kendra commissioned a roster of high-profile authors and Nobel Peace Prize winners, from the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu to Shirin Ebadi and Deepak Chopra. In recent years she added Samar Yazbek on Syria and Jang Jin-sung's Dear Leader to Rider's portfolio, as well as, earlier this year, the memoir of a former death row inmate, one of the longest-serving, falsely imprisoned individuals in American history. Prior to Rider, she commissioned titles for Grafton/HarperCollins, Harlequin and the human rights charity, Minority Rights Group, having originally started at Hodder.
Andrew Goodfellow, deputy publisher of Ebury Publishing, said although replacing Kendra would be difficult, she'd left Rider in great position for its anniversary year.
"Judith leaves Rider in very good shape, now in this its 110th anniversary year," he said. "Many of her intuitively commissioned books have come to define Ebury Publishing and bring us together as a proud and passionate team, from classics such as Man’s Search for Meaning to future classics like The Choice. I, for one, would like to thank her for that. The difficult task now starts to find a worthy successor to Judith to take the Rider list forward in a world where such publishing has never been more urgently needed."
Kendra commented: "I’ve always been fascinated by courageous people who do and see things differently, especially in other cultures, and I’ve been very lucky to publish incredible authors of this kind. My years at Rider have been the most satisfying of my career and I’ve learned a huge amount from my energetic, creative and successful colleagues at Ebury."
Kendra has plans to pursue a variety of projects when she leaves, including a postgraduate course in Asian Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies. After September, she can be reached at Judithkendra@hotmail.co.uk.