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Sonny Mehta, editor-in-chief of Alfred A Knopf, passes away

On Tuesday morning, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik tweeted, "I am deeply grieved by the passing away of my brother in law Sonny Mehta. He was one of the world's best editors and an extremely civilized person. May his soul rest in peace."

Written by Sampad Patnaik | Bhubaneswar | Updated: December 31, 2019 2:13:26 pm
Sonny Mehta, editor-in-chief of Alfred A Knopf, passes away Ajai Singh “Sonny” Mehta, 77, was the recipient of the 2018 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction. (Express photo)

Sonny Mehta, chairman and editor-in-chief, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s brother-in-law passed away on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, the Odisha CM tweeted, “I am deeply grieved by the passing away of my brother in law Sonny Mehta (Husband of my sister Gita Mehta). He was one of the world’s best editors and an extremely civilized person. May his soul rest in peace.”

Ajai Singh “Sonny” Mehta, 77, was the recipient of the 2018 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction.

Read | ‘One of world’s best editors’: Alfred A Knopf’s Sonny Mehta passes away

A profile of Mehta, published in the magazine Vanity Fair, mentions him as the son of an Indian diplomat, who grew up in Prague, New York, Geneva and Nepal.

Mehta married Naveen Patnaik’s sister, Gita, who is also the daughter of former Odisha CM Biju Patnaik.

Earlier this year, Gita Mehta had declined the Padma Shri award for distinguished contribution to literature and education, explaining the honour may be “misconstrued… with a general election looming”.

Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik, at the time, was set to contest the general elections to the Lok Sabha and Odisha state assembly.

Alfred A. Knopf was founded in 1915 and has long been known as a publisher of distinguished hardcover fiction and nonfiction, according to details provided on the group’s website. Doubleday was founded in 1897, when Frank Nelson Doubleday formed Doubleday & McClure Company in partnership with magazine publisher Samuel McClure, the website states.

The group has published books in varied genres- from art, architecture to biography, memoirs, fiction, literary criticism and nature.

Mehta arrived at Knopf shortly before its 75th anniversary and witnessed its hundredth one, say sources close to the Chief Minister’s Office.

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