As Ash Green Leaves Knopf, a Passing of the Torch

“Some [authors] are going to Jon Segal, some are going to Sonny,” he said. “They’re being spread out all over.”

Mr. Miller declined to say what his salary will be at Knopf, and it would be a mistake to suggest that he is replacing Mr. Green—“he is irreplaceable,” as several Knopf editors put it—but a baton, nevertheless, is most certainly being passed, and training is unmistakably under way.

Last week, for instance, Mr. Green brought Mr. Miller out to dinner with Henry Petrovski, the Duke professor whose new book, The Toothpick, is one of six that Mr. Green edited for Knopf’s fall list.

“I’m just introducing him to people as they come by,” Mr. Green said. “That was the only dinner so far, but we’ve done lunch and there’ll be more to come.”

On Monday, he said, the two of them went out with Edward Tenner, author of Why Things Bite Back, and a few days before that they went to an agent’s office with Mr. Mehta to meet with an author whom Mr. Green could not identify due to a confidentiality agreement.

Preparation of this sort has been going on ever since Mr. Green made his announcement at the end of the summer, and it will continue until his last day*.

“That week I was e-mailing and contacting a fair number of writers,” Mr. Miller said. “There are a couple more months before he goes, but there are a lot of books, a lot of writers to pass along.”

Mr. Andreou, now a senior editor, said Mr. Miller is “apprenticing to the master.”

“I think that this effort to conserve Ash’s legacy speaks to his special status,” he said. “I think that’s why Andrew is working with him in this unusual way.”

“I’m not aware that we’ve ever had an arrangement like this, as far as I know,” Mr. Andreou went on, noting that when he replaced Elizabeth Sifton as senior editor—he was her assistant when she left the imprint in the early 1990’s—he inherited some of her authors, but “not the working capital of a full career.”

“This is a great innovation at Knopf,” Mr. Andreou went on, “because there has, by tradition, been no middle class. We don’t have a ladder. There are assistants and there are senior editors. There’s no means of career development of the kind that one finds in most other places. There’s tradition, and somehow it works for us.”


*This sentence has been corrected from an earlier version. 

As Ash Green Leaves Knopf, a Passing of the Torch