Dana Canedy has been named senior vice-president and publisher of Simon & Schuster’s namesake imprint, one of the biggest jobs in the industry, according to the New York Times. She is the third woman and first Black person to hold the role. Canedy has served as the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes since 2017, ushering in a diverse selection of work including music by Kendrick Lamar and a posthumous award to Ida B. Wells. She also oversaw a special citation and a $100,000 grant to the Capital Gazette after five people were killed in the newsroom in 2018. Before her time at the Pulitzer Prizes, she spent 20 years at the New York Times as a reporter and senior editor covering business, politics, race, and class. She has published a memoir called A Journal for Jordan, about her partner, First Sergeant Charles M. King, and the journal he wrote for their son in case he died in the war in Iraq. King died in combat in 2006. Michael B. Jordan will star in a movie based on the book, directed by Denzel Washington and set to begin production this fall. With that, Canedy adds another title to her résumé: producer.
Canedy says Jonathan Karp, the recently appointed chief executive of Simon & Schuster, asked her about a job two years ago, but she had only been at the Pulitzer Prizes for a year. “Jon should get credit for the fact that in an era of racial reckoning, when suddenly everybody is looking for people of color and women to add to their boards and to bring in to their companies — he started talking to me two years ago,” Canedy told the Times. “That’s the way you want to go into a company. I wouldn’t be taking this job if I thought he just wanted a Black publisher.” While both the world as a whole and the publishing world specifically continue to face uncertainty, Canedy remains confident. “Look, life is going to happen while the world moves, so you can either move with it or get left behind,” she said. “You might as well do it.”