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

Susan Kamil, an editor and publisher of celebrated authors whose effusive praise for her in their books’ acknowledgments made her name familiar to readers, died on Sunday in Manhattan. She was 69.

The cause was complications of lung cancer, her husband, Bob Kohn, said.

Ms. Kamil (pronounced like camel) was a writer’s editor, wielding her red pencil on nights and weekends and even by flashlight in movie theaters as she performed surgery on sentences, by all accounts conscientiously, constructively and considerately. Her writers would say she spilled minimal blood and left few visible scars.

“They trusted her honesty, her keen eye and her elegant sensitivity to language and story,” said Joni Evans, for whom Ms. Kamil worked at Simon & Schuster and who wooed her to Random House. “They were her family, and this loss will be deeply personal to all of them.”

Most recently, she was executive vice president and publisher of Random House, which includes the Random House, Dial Press, Spiegel & Grau, One World and Hogarth imprints.

The authors she worked with include Salman Rushdie (most recently on his novel “Quichotte,” which has been nominated for this year’s Booker Prize), Ta-Nehisi Coates (his debut novel, “The Water Dancer”), Prince (his posthumous memoir, “The Beautiful Ones”), Elizabeth Strout (“My Name Is Lucy Barton,” a New York Times best seller) and Allegra Goodman (“Kaaterskill Falls,” a finalist for the National Book Award in 1998). Others include Lena Dunham, Tom Rachman, Ruth Reichl and Gary Shteyngart.

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