Many people working in publishing today have Lindy Hess to at least partly thank for their careers. The longtime director of the Columbia Publishing Course, who has just passed away, shepherded countless recent college graduates into some of New York’s finest imprints.
Many of her students are still there, rising through the ranks. Among them is Jordan Pavlin, a high-ranking editor at Knopf. Another is Esquire editor-in-chief David Granger, as is influential agent Amy Williams and Lee Boudreaux, who heads Ecco Press.
Hess was 63. The cause of death was lung cancer.
As The Times reports, the publishing course had been a fusty affair before Hess took over in 1988. As a sign of its diminished relevance, the course – founded in 1947 as the Radcliffe Publishing Course – was based in Cambridge, Mass., where publishing hadn’t been centered since roughly the time of Cotton Mather.
Shaye Areheart, who has taken over as the acting director of the CPC, told The Atlantic Wire, “There had been so much social and cultural change [during the 1960s and ’70s]. The Radcliffe course had become rather moribund. Lindy came in and she had such progressive thinking. She had an enthusiasm about books and authors and teaching and young people that strengthened and broadened the course and its reputation.”