After spending some time in job limbo, Viking editor-in-chief Molly Stern will be joining Crown Publishing, where she will oversee general interest hardcover trade fiction and nonfiction. Crown president and publisher Maya Mavjee wrote in her announcement of Stern’s hire:
Her mandate will be to acquire and develop books in narrative nonfiction areas such as biography and memoir, popular history, politics, current events, action/outdoors and travel, which are our traditional areas of expertise, as well as to grow and to provide a new vision and direction for our fiction publishing program.
The oversight position has been open since Crown Publisher Maya Mavjee restructured the company back in April, and Stern was long rumored to be Crown’s top candidate. But Penguin had reportedly refused to release her from her contract, and a Crain’s article last month quoted insiders who said that Stern was trapped between the two positions. As Publishers Weekly summarized the situation:
Things have gotten so bad that Stern is no longer going into the office and, instead, is editing from home. One source said he believes Crown is intending to hold the job for Stern but that the editor has been left in a “netherworld” by Penguin, unable to leave yet also unable to comfortably stay.
And that was back in early July—so today’s announcement is surely a relief.