Influential Knopf Editor Judith Jones Dead at 93

Though Knopf editor Judith Jones retired officially in 2011, her legacy will continue. It was Jones who rescued Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl from the rejection pile and who championed Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking to Alfred Knopf. From the New York Times:

 

Judith Jones, the editor who discovered Julia Child and advanced a generation of culinary writers that revolutionized cooking and tastes in American homes, and who for a half-century edited John Updike, Anne Tyler, John Hersey and other literary lions, died on Wednesday at her summer home in Walden, Vt. She was 93.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, her stepdaughter Bronwyn Dunne said.

Authors and publishing colleagues called Ms. Jones an extraordinary editor — imaginative, versatile, fascinated with stories, curious about people and places, a deft wordsmith and above all insatiable for the pleasures of French cooking. She talked about it, wrote about it and practiced its arts in her kitchens in Manhattan and rural Vermont.

“It is impossible to imagine book publishing without Judith,” said Knopf Chairman and Editor in Chief Sonny Mehta. “Her authors have been recipients of five Pulitzer Prizes, five National Book Awards, and three National Book Critics Circle Awards, and her cookbook authors have been recipients of forty-one awards from the James Beard Foundation and thirteen awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. And Judith herself was honored with lifetime achievement awards from both the James Beard Foundation and IACP. It is no exaggeration to say that she profoundly influenced not only the way America reads and but also the way we cook.”

She was also the author of The Tenth Muse, The Pleasures of Cooking for One and other food-related books.

Jones joined Knopf in 1957. A memorial is being planned.

 

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