Susan Kamil, a Top Book Editor and Publisher, Dies at 69


“Unlike so many editors, she genuinely did not want to be a writer herself,” Ms. Reichl said, also in an email. “So while she engaged with her authors in the fiercest way, she never put words in your mouth or on your pages.”

Susan Laurie Kamil was born on Sept. 16, 1949, in Manhattan to Charles and Sylvia (Etman) Kamil. Her father was a shoelace manufacturer, her mother a dress buyer in the garment industry.

After graduating from the High School of Music and Art, she majored in English and American literature at Vassar College and earned a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.

She married Mr. Kohn, a copyright lawyer, in 2011 and lived in Manhattan. She died in a hospital there. In addition to her husband, her survivors include two stepchildren, Katie and Joseph Kohn; and two brothers, Neil and Evan Myles Kamil.

She began her publishing career in the children’s book division of Macmillan. In 1975, she joined Harcourt Brace Jovanovich under Kathy Robbins (who became a noted literary agent) and sold subsidiary rights. She was hired by Simon & Schuster in 1979 and became its director of subsidiary rights and a senior editor under Richard E. Snyder, the chief executive, and Ms. Evans, his wife, who was president and publisher.

When Ms. Evans left to become publisher of the Random House imprint in 1987 during a protracted divorce from Mr. Snyder, she hired away Ms. Kamil and made her executive editor.

Ms. Kamil was executive editor of Random House’s short-lived but critically acclaimed Turtle Bay imprint in the early 1990s; left Random House to join the Bertelsmann-owned Bantam Doubleday Dell, where she revived the Dial Press imprint; then returned to Random House in 1998 after it, too, was bought by Bertelsmann.

In 2008, Gina Centrello, the president of Random House Publishing Group, named Ms. Kamil editor in chief of the Random House imprint. Two years later she was promoted to executive vice president and publisher of all Random House imprints.

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