Richard Marek, Editor of Hemingway, Baldwin and Ludlum, Dies at 86


When Richard Marek was a youthful editor at Scribner’s in Manhattan in the early 1960s, he was entrusted with 1 of the literary world’s most important manuscripts, “A Moveable Feast,” Ernest Hemingway’s intimate portrait of his life as an unknown writer in Paris in the 1920s.

Hemingway had scrawled his edits in the margins of the manuscript. Mr. Marek prepared to go about it at residence, and cautiously slipped the internet pages into an envelope right before finding on the subway in close proximity to his Midtown office.

But when he arrived household, on the Upper West Facet, he didn’t have the envelope. He understood he experienced remaining it on the subway.

Worry ensued. He sobbed all evening and instructed himself, “My profession is in excess of.”

The upcoming morning, he went to the subway’s shed and found and saw to his astonishment that a person experienced turned in the envelope.

And his career was considerably from over.

Mr. Marek, who died on Sunday at 86 at his household in Westport, Conn. — the bring about was esophageal cancer, his wife, Dalma Heyn, claimed — was 1 of New York’s most well known editors and publishers.

More than the course of his occupation he labored at a fifty percent-dozen publishing properties and was accountable for shepherding far more than 300 guides into print.

They integrated various by James Baldwin, such as “If Beale Avenue Could Talk” (1974), the initial 9 by Robert Ludlum, including “The Scarlatti Inheritance” (1971) and “The Bourne Identity” (1980), and Thomas Harris’s “The Silence of the Lambs” (1988). He also wrote novels of his possess.

As an editor, Mr. Marek took threats that were being stunning in the conservative earth of reserve publishing. In the late 1970s, when he labored at Dial Push, he was trying to figure out how to current market a satirical novel identified as “The House of God,” by Samuel Shem (the pseudonym of Stephen Bergman), with an introduction by John Updike.

The story involved a team of young medical doctors battling their way by means of their residencies, which they discovered dehumanizing, psychologically damaging and absurdly humorous. Mr. Marek imagined the tale was hilarious, but it had no true plot, and he couldn’t occur up with a persuasive pitch.

With out a good pitch, his sales supervisor informed him, he might as effectively just give the book absent.

That, Mr. Marek imagined, was a amazing idea.

He soon requested 10,000 copies printed and experienced the e-book jackets marked so that the books could not be returned to the publisher. Then he gave them absent to booksellers. In trade, the booksellers agreed to display screen the book prominently, often in their entrance home windows.

The publishing market was aghast, but the reserve was a hit, advertising tens of millions of copies and turning into an immediate common for generations of health care students.

1 of Mr. Marek’s previous editorial assistants, Erika Goldman, wrote in a 2017 essay that she experienced learned about modifying in component from looking at manuscripts that he experienced edited whilst she was building Xerox copies of them.

“This was how I uncovered what line editing was — and where, why and how a lot a very good editor should intervene in an author’s text,” wrote Ms. Goldman, who is now publisher and editorial director of Bellevue Literary Push.

“Dick Marek may perhaps have had a paperback of a Henry James novel in his raincoat pocket for subway studying,” she claimed, “but he understood how to edit for plot.”

Credit score…Pamela Barkentin

Richard William Marek was born on June 14, 1933, in Manhattan and grew up there. His father, George R. Marek, was vice president and basic supervisor of RCA Victor Report Division and a biographer of classical composers. His mother, Muriel (Heppner) Marek, was a homemaker.

He graduated from the private Fieldston faculty in the Bronx, then attended Haverford College or university, outdoors Philadelphia, in which he majored in English and when pitched a no-hitter for the Haverford Black Squirrels. He graduated in 1955, and the following year acquired his master’s diploma in English from Columbia. He married Margot Lynn Ravage in 1954.

Between the earth wars, he served in the Military in Japan, in which he wrote radio scripts and traveled with his wife all around the state. They had two little ones, Alexander Marek and Elizabeth Marek Litt. His initial spouse died in 1987. He married Ms. Heyn, an writer and psychotherapist, in 1991.

In addition to Ms. Heyn, he is survived by his little ones and four grandchildren.

Mr. Marek began his publishing profession as a junior acquisitions editor at Macmillan and rose to become president and publisher of E.P. Dutton. “I loved books and wished my full life to be about guides,” he said in a radio job interview in 2015 with WritersCast, a podcast on composing.

He also worked at Environment Publishing, the Putnam Publishing Team and St. Martin’s Push. At Putnam he experienced his possess imprint, Richard Marek Publishers.

Following E.P. Dutton turned a subsidiary of Viking/Penguin, he moved to Crown as editor-at-massive and then turned an independent editor. He took up ghostwriting, helping with Trisha Meili’s “I Am the Central Park Jogger” (2003), James Patterson’s “Hide and Seek” (to start with printed in 1986) and Brian Weiss’s “Same Soul, Many Bodies” (2004). He would create in the mornings and edit in the afternoons.

He wrote his own fiction as well. His initial novel was “Works of Genius” (1987), the tale of a excellent but egomaniacal novelist, informed from the standpoint of his moderate-mannered literary agent. Mr. Marek was the president of E.P. Dutton at the time, and the novel supplied insights into the environment of publishing.


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