The new imprint will launch next year with Shavit as Publishing Director, and will focus on publishing creative artists, global thought leaders, scientists, historians, activists, journalists, philosophers and cultural innovators. It will seek to publish books of global and multicultural interest and work collaboratively with writers to develop projects and ideas at the frontier of thinking and creativity in their respective fields.
Michal Shavit said: ‘Working at Jonathan Cape has been the greatest privilege and joy an editor could wish for. I am deeply grateful to the authors who make this prestigious imprint what it is today. I will miss the amazing team at Cape who appreciate the fundamental importance of editorial excellence and quality. It’s been an incredible year with numerous bestsellers in fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as prizes.
‘I am excited about this next chapter: having the chance to build a focused list from scratch and to have the space for more pro-active commissioning, creative collaboration and connecting with international colleagues to bring global audiences to great writing and thinking is both inspiring and thrilling. Finding those writers who can provide intellectual light and sustenance as we try to navigate an uncertain and often unpredictable world, is what so many readers, including myself, search for as we try to make sense of who we are, our past, the present and future. I look forward to sharing more on the new imprint in due course.’
Michal Shavit joined Penguin Random House in 2012. Among the books she has acquired and published through her two-decade career are: Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin, The Possessed by Elif Batuman, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Bluets by Maggie Nelson, How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti, The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit, Our Man by George Packer, The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Sapiens, Homo Deus and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, and Good Pop, Bad Pop by Jarvis Cocker.
In 2015, Shavit was appointed Publishing Director of Jonathan Cape where she has published writers of excellence from around the globe, including Ian McEwan, Ottessa Moshfegh, Julian Barnes, Claire-Louise Bennett, Emmanuel Carrère, Afua Hirsch, Megan Nolan, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Ross Raisin, Katie Kitamura, and many others. In recent years she has acquired some significant international non-fiction projects which are yet to be published including Andrew Pontzen’s The Universe in a Box, Jerome Roos’ Crisis, Jonathan Loh’s Life Story, Elizabeth Prochaska’s Birth Story, Imaobong Umoren’s Empire Without End, and Neneh Cherry’s A Thousand Threads.
Hannah Telfer, Managing Director at Vintage, said: ‘Michal exemplifies the highest standards of publishing excellence: her deep conviction that quality writing married with continual creativity will deliver commercial success has been proven repeatedly under her leadership of Jonathan Cape with an enviable track-record of award-winners and bestsellers. It will be fascinating to see where Michal’s publishing takes us next.’
Michal Shavit will finish at Jonathan Cape on Thursday 12 January. Vintage will conduct an open recruitment process to appoint a new Publishing Director to lead the imprint’s celebrated fiction, non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels publishing.