Vice President and Editor-at-Large, Alfred A. Knopf

American Academy Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2008


Gary Fisketjon is widely known in the literary world both for his hand in revolutionizing the modern book publishing industry in the US, and for his reputation as a meticulous and comprehensive editor. After graduating from Williams College, with a BA in history and literature, he entered the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University. He joined Random House Publishing in the late 1970s. As a young editor with many contacts among emerging writers, Fisketjon saw that the literary market lacked a proper format in which they could be published, and in 1984 he founded Vintage Contemporaries, “a line of high-quality trade paperbacks” that created a new forum with much better distribution through independent booksellers. Its immediate success transformed how contemporary fiction was published in the country; it also helped authors including Jay McInerney and Richard Russo to become well-known with their first books, and brought new readers to established but underappreciated writers such as Raymond Carver and Richard Ford. Mr. Fisketjon joined the Atlantic Monthly Press as editorial director in 1986 but returned to Random House in 1990, where he settled at Knopf. As Knopf’s vice president and editor-at-large, Fisketjon has worked with a number of acclaimed writers, including Donna Tartt, Bret Easton Ellis, Kent Haruf, Patricia Highsmith, Tobias Wolff, Julian Barnes, Cormac McCarthy, and Haruki Murakami, while also picking out and fostering new talent. Since 1986, he has also become one of the few regular American editorial presences at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

 

Fisketjon divides his time between New York and Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee.