Book Bind

Grass, Eco to the Rescue

When Houghton Mifflin Harcourt fired one of its top editors, Drenka Willen, 79, CEO Tony Lucki could not have expected the level of outrage. “She was what publishing used to be. She was the example of what we all went into this for,” fellow pink slip holder Ann Patty explained to the New York Observer’s Leon Neyfakh. But Willen’s authors wouldn’t take her removal lying down. And what authors! None other than Günter Grass led the charge to have the doyenne of editing reinstated and he wrote a stiff note to the not so lucky Lucki, and had fellow literary geniuses Umberto Eco, José Saramago, Amos Oz, and Wislawa Szymborska countersign it. Not long after, the luckless Lucki was on bended knee inviting the living legend he had just fired to come back on her own terms, which, after a little thought, she agreed to do. Her first task? To oversee a new translation of Grass’s The Tin Drum, due out in the fall in honor of the book’s 50th anniversary.