George Witte

Editor in Chief, St. Martin's Press

Class Year


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