Hodgman Hops from Holt to Houghton


By Neal Comment

In the first sign of Houghton Mifflin‘s plans after buying Harcourt earlier this month, the company announced that it had hired Henry Holt executive editor George Hodgman as the vice-president and senior executive editor of the adult trade editorial group. Hodgman’s eye for narrative nonfiction is highly respected in the biz; his picks at Holt included Kevin Boyle‘s award-winning Arc of Justice and Mockingbird, Charles J. Shields‘ bio of Harper Lee. His resume also includes lengthy stints at Simon & Schuster and Vanity Fair.

In a 2005 interview with mediabistro.com, Hodgman explained his approach to buying nonfiction: “I like big characters and—this sounds incredibly pretentious—but things that reflect some human spirit—perseverance, desire, imagination. I like writerly journalists who can render character, detail, and place beyond ‘just the facts’ and who are narrative-oriented.” The interview also offers a possible hint as to how he’ll run his new department come September. “It’s all going too fast,” he warns. “Corporate-think means ‘Get it out for Christmas’ or whatever. Business types don’t really think editing matters. They can’t tell the difference so they don’t think readers can. I say, why spend so much money and not take the time to actually get it right?”