Sonny Mehta to receive LBF Lifetime Achievement Award

Sonny Mehta to receive LBF Lifetime Achievement Award

Sonny Mehta, editor-in-chief of Alfred A Knopf, is to be awarded the eighth Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing by London Book Fair.

Mehta has published authors including Thomas Mann, Willa Cather, Albert Camus, John Updike, Toni Morrison, V S Naipaul and Bill Clinton. He is also chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Mehta said: "I am honoured to accept this award from the organisers of The London Book Fair and flattered to be following in the footsteps of such distinguished past recipients. As I see it, my job has always been to champion the work of the authors I publish. And so, on this occasion, I would like to sincerely thank all the writers who have become such an important part of my life, both personally and professionally.

"Some of them are highly acclaimed and widely read; some, alas, have not yet found the readerships they deserve. But regardless of their appearance on any best-seller list or their selection for any award, these writers are a true inspiration. I consider myself fortunate indeed to be their publisher."

Gail Hochman, president of the Association of Authors' Representatives and LBF advisory board member, added: "Knopf has long been a leader in publishing books of lasting quality, and at its helm Sonny Mehta has been steadily an international tastemaker, innovative publisher, and believer in the power of the written word . . . He remains a world leader in identifying and promoting literary talent and we are proud to be awarding to him The London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award for 2011."

Mehta began his career in London, where he co-founded Paladin Books and was editorial director of Pan Books, before moving to New York to head Knopf in 1987.  He is also known for publishing Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho after Simon & Schuster refused to publish it, and for moving in with Douglas Adams to ensure he finished So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish.

Another of his authors, Kazuo Ishiguro, added: "I know I am only one of many, many authors around the world applauding this recognition of Sonny's magnificent and trail-blazing contribution over the decades. . . . He's been an unfailing friend to the writers he's believed in, and he has permanently changed and shaped the culture we now work in for the better. Bravo, Sonny, and thank you."

The London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing celebrates an individual's career dedication to breaking down borders in international publishing. The award is sponsored by SBS Worldwide and in association with the Publishers Association.

Previous winners include Lynette Owen, Christopher MacLehose and George Weidenfeld.