|Parent company||Penguin Random House|
|Founders||Harold K. Guinzburg, George S. Oppenheim|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||New York City|
|Key people||President-Brian Tart, Children's publisher Kenneth Wright|
|Official website||Viking Books|
Viking Press (formally Viking Penguin, also listed as Viking Books) is an American publishing company now owned by Penguin Random House. It was founded in New York City on March 1, 1925, by Harold K. Guinzburg and George S. Oppenheimand then acquired by the Penguin Group in 1975.
Guinzburg, a Harvard graduate and former employee of Simon and Schuster and Oppenheimer, a graduate of Williams College and Alfred A. Knopf, founded Viking in 1925 with the goal of publishing nonfiction and “distinguished fiction with some claim to permanent importance rather than ephemeral popular interest.”B. W. Huebsch joined the firm shortly afterward. Harold Guinzburg's son Thomas became president in 1961.
The firm's name and logo—a Viking ship drawn by Rockwell Kent—were meant to evoke the ideas of adventure, exploration, and enterprise implied by the word "Viking."
In August 1961, they acquired H.B. Huesbsch, which maintained a list of backlist titles from authors such as James Joyce and Sherwood Anderson. The first imprint was The Book of American Negro Spirituals, edited by James Weldon Johnson. The young firm focused on aggressive advertising and a liberal return policy. These policies, along with popular fiction authors Dorothy Parker, D.H. Lawrence and Erskine Caldwell, as well as non-fiction authors Bertrand Russell and Mohandis Gandhi, helped the firm weather the Depression.
The house has been home to many prominent authors of fiction, non-fiction, and play scripts. Five Viking authors have been awarded Nobel Prizes for Literature and one received the Nobel Peace Prize; Viking books have also won numerous Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and other important literary prizes.
The Viking Children's Book department was established in 1933; its founding editor was May Massee. Viking Kestrel was one of its imprints. Its books have won the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and include such books as The Twenty-One Balloons , written and illustrated by William Pene du Bois (1947, Newbery medal winner for 1948), Corduroy , Make Way for Ducklings , The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (1993), The Outsiders , Pippi Longstocking , and The Story of Ferdinand . Its paperbacks are now published by Puffin Books, which includes the Speak and Firebird imprints. From 2012 and as of 2016 [update] , Viking Children's publisher is Kenneth Wright.
In 1943, the Viking Portable Library was introduced, a series designed to provide compact, well-printed anthologies for the general reader and college students. These compilations encompassed works by Hemingway, Steinbeck and Shakespeare. Over the next decade, Viking published works by Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Rumer Godden and Rex Stout. Saul Bellow published his third novel, The Adventure of Augie March in 1953, and would publish his next five works with the press, including the Pulitzer Prize winning Humboldt's Gift in 1975. In 1957, Jack Kerouac's On the Road was published by the press, and during the 1960s Viking published works by Hannah Arendt, Theodore Draper, Zbignew Brzezinski, Ian Fleming, Ken Kesey, and Jimmy Breslin.
Viking publishes approximately 75 books a year. It has published both successful commercial fiction and acclaimed literary fiction and non-fiction, and its paperbacks are most often published by Penguin Books. Viking's current president is Brian Tart.
In 1933, Viking Press founded a department called Junior Books to publish children's books. The first book published was The Story About Ping in 1933 under editor May Massee. Other stories published under the Viking label early in its history include The Story of Ferdinand (1936), Make Way for Ducklings (1941), and The Twenty-One Balloons (1947). Junior Books was renamed to Viking Children's Books at some point in the past. It currently publishes approximately sixty titles a year.
The Viking Critical Library offers academic editions of literary texts. Like W. W. Norton's Norton Critical Editions, all titles print the text alongside a selection of critical essays and contextual documents (including relevant extracts from the author's oeuvre). The series, which only saw sporadic publications in the late '70s and late '90s, has been dormant since 1998, with no new titles released since then. However, a number of existing titles remain in print.
|Don DeLillo||White Noise||Mark Osteen||1998||As of October 2019, the latest publication in the series.|
|Graham Greene||The Quiet American||John Clark Pratt||1996|
|James Joyce||Dubliners||Robert Scholes||1996|
|James Joyce||Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man||Chester G. Anderson||1977||The only title known to include explanatory end notes.|
|Ken Kesey||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||John Clark Pratt||1977||Out of print.|
|Jack Kerouac||On the Road||Scott Donaldson||1979||Out of print.|
|Arthur Miller||The Crucible||Gerald Weales||1996|
|Arthur Miller||Death of a Salesman||Gerald Weales||1996|
|John Steinbeck||The Grapes of Wrath||Kevin Hearle||1997|
Kenneth Elton Kesey was an American novelist, essayist, and countercultural figure. He considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s.
A picture book combines visual and verbal narratives in a book format, most often aimed at young children. With the narrative told primarily through text, they are distinct from comics, which do so primarily through sequential images. The images in picture books are commonly produced in a range of media, such as oil paints, acrylics, watercolor, and pencil, among others.
The John Newbery Medal, frequently shortened to the Newbery, is a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), to the author of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children". The Newbery and the Caldecott Medal are considered the two most prestigious awards for children's literature in the United States. Books selected are widely carried by bookstores and libraries, the authors are interviewed on television, and master's and doctoral theses are written on them. Named for John Newbery, an 18th-century English publisher of juvenile books, the winner of the Newbery is selected at the ALA's Midwinter Conference by a fifteen-person committee. The Newbery was proposed by Frederic G. Melcher in 1921, making it the first children's book award in the world. The physical bronze medal was designed by Rene Paul Chambellan and is given to the winning author at the next ALA annual conference. Since its founding there have been several changes to the composition of the selection committee, while the physical medal remains the same.
The Randolph Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year's "most distinguished American picture book for children", beginning with 1937 publications. It is awarded to the illustrator by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The Caldecott and Newbery Medals are the most prestigious American children's book awards.
William Sherman "Billy" Pène du Bois was an American writer and illustrator of books for young readers. He is best known for The Twenty-One Balloons, published in April 1947 by Viking Press, for which he won the 1948 Newbery Medal. As illustrator he was twice a runner-up for the Caldecott Medal written by others, which he illustrated (below), and the two Caldecott Honor picture books, which he also wrote.
Ruth Sawyer was an American storyteller and a writer of fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She may be best known as the author of Roller Skates, which won the 1937 Newbery Medal. She received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1965 for her lifetime achievement in children's literature.
Kate Seredy was a Hungarian-born writer and illustrator of children's books. She won the Newbery Medal once, the Newbery Honor twice, the Caldecott Honor once, and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. Most of her books were written in English, which was not her first language. Seredy seems to be unknown in her native Hungary, despite the fact that her story of the Good Master, and the sequel set in World War I are intensely about Hungary.
Make Way for Ducklings is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey. First published in 1941, the book tells the story of a pair of mallards who decide to raise their family on an island in the lagoon in Boston Public Garden, a park in the center of Boston.
Robert Lawson was an American writer and illustrator of children's books. His work was widely admired, and he became the first, and so far only, person to be given both the Caldecott Medal, for They Were Strong and Good (1941), and a Newbery Award, for Rabbit Hill (1945).
Rachel Lyman Field was an American novelist, poet, and children's fiction writer. She is best known for the Newbery Award–winning Hitty, Her First Hundred Years. Field also won a National Book Award, Newbery Honor award and two of her books are on the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award list.
Candlewick Press, established in 1991 and located in Somerville, Massachusetts, is part of the Walker Books group. The logo depicting a bear carrying a candle is based on Walker Books's original logo. The Walker Books Group has a unique ownership structure that includes employees and more than 150 authors and illustrators.
Lane Smith is an American illustrator and writer of children's books. He is the Kate Greenaway medalist (2017) known for his eclectic visuals and subject matter both humorous and earnest, such as the contemplative Grandpa Green which received a Caldecott Honor in 2012 and the outlandish Stinky Cheese Man which received a Caldecott Honor in 1992.
Joan Baehler Bauer is an American writer of young adult literature currently residing in Brooklyn. Bauer was born in River Forest, Illinois. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband Evan Bauer. They are the parents of one daughter, Jean. Before becoming a famous author Joan spent years working for McGraw-Hill and the Chicago Tribune. She also did some work in advertising, marketing, and screenwriting.
Nancy Willard was an American writer: novelist, poet, author and occasional illustrator of children's books. She won the 1982 Newbery Medal for A Visit to William Blake's Inn.
Charles Boardman Hawes was an American writer of fiction and nonfiction sea stories, best known for three historical novels. He died suddenly at age 34, after only two of his five books had been published. He was the first U.S.-born winner of the annual Newbery Medal, recognizing his third novel The Dark Frigate (1923) as the year's best American children's book. Reviewing the Hawes Memorial Prize Contest in 1925, The New York Times observed that "his adventure stories of the sea caused him to be compared with Stevenson, Dana and Melville".
May Massee was an American children's book editor. She was the founding head of the juvenile departments at Doubleday from 1922 and at Viking Press from 1932. Prior to working at Doubleday she had been the editor the American Library Association periodical Booklist.
Rebecca Stead is an American writer of fiction for children and teens. She won the American Newbery Medal in 2010, the oldest award in children's literature, for her second novel When You Reach Me.
Thomas Henry Guinzburg was an American editor and publisher who served as the first managing editor of The Paris Review following its inception in 1953 and later succeeded his father as president of the Viking Press.
Jean Edna Karl was an American book editor who specialized in children's and science fiction titles. She founded and led the children's division and young adult and science fiction imprints at Atheneum Books, where she oversaw or edited books that won two Caldecott Medals and five Newbery Medals. One of the Newberys went to the new writer E. L. Konigsburg in 1968 for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Penguin Random House (PRH) is a multinational conglomerate publishing company formed in 2013 from the merger of Random House, owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, and Penguin Group, owned by British publishing company Pearson plc. As of 2013, Penguin Random House employed about 10,000 people globally and published 15,000 titles annually under its 250 divisions and imprints. These titles include fiction and nonfiction for adults and children in both print and digital.
Bean, Martha Sue. A History and Profile of the Viking Press, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Theses, 1969.
"Viking Press, Viking Penguin", Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 46, pp. 365-368.