George Witte

Degree and Year: 
BA 1982
Professional Title: 
Editor in Chief
St. Martin's Press

Professional Background: 
St. Martin's Press, 1984-present. In addition to working as editor in chief and managing a busy department of 30+ editors, associate editors, and assistant editors, I have been founding editor and publisher of Picador USA, a literary division of Macmillan Publishers, and an editor of fiction and nonfiction books across a wide range of categories. I also have published three books of poems: The Apparitioners (2005), Deniability (2009), and Does She Have a Name? (2014), as well as poems in anthologies and in many literary magazines.

How has being an English graduate from Duke University helped shape your professional success?: 
My mentor at Duke was James Applewhite, whose quiet example gave me room to grow as a poet, while offering sound guidance about craft and revision of my work. He was the first person to see something in me--something I didn't trust myself to see--and I persisted for years on the strength of that recognition. More generally, I received a solid grounding across many periods and intense focus on single authors (Faulkner, Woolf, Shakespeare, Proust, Dante, Rilke, and more), which prepared me not only for graduate school, but for a lifetime of reading and editing and writing.
George Witte