This is huge!
Dana Canedy makes history as the first Black senior vice president of publishing powerhouse Simon and Schuster, NPR reports.
Canedy has a twenty-year career in the media sector, working as a reporter and editor and heading up diversity and inclusion in the newsroom at the New York Times. She said she’s always been “obsessed with words and books,” and began writing at just 12 years old. The journalism veteran is the author of a memoir about her partner who died fighting in Iraq, and the creator of a series that discusses the lived experience of race in the U.S., for which she won a Pulitzer Prize.
In her new role, she will serve as senior vice president of Simon and Schuster, one of the largest publishers in the nation, becoming the first African American to hold the position. For Canedy, this is just another step in a long battle towards progress that she’s been fighting her entire career. “When I say that I’ve lived with this a long time, remember that it was, I think, 2001 that I, along with some colleagues, won a Pulitzer Prize for a series literally entitled ‘How Race Is Lived In America.’ And we’re revisiting this again. So it’s an issue that’s sort of hard to get at. We have it’s two steps forward, one step back,” Canedy said.
She plans to use her new role to continue diversifying the voice of publishing, asserting that while most journalism right now is immediate, there is still a need for books as a way to unpack more complex notions such as race. “I think the reason books exist alongside journalism is that readers want thoughtful narratives that take a while to pull together in an authoritative way. And that’s where books have an advantage,” said Canedy.
Canedy spoke about her main focus as head of Simon and Schuster given the current social climate, saying, “I think as it relates to publishing, book publishing, we have an opportunity to bring about meaningful understanding and change in the country with the voices we highlight, be they well-known authors or emerging voices. And I will be paying a lot of attention to that.”