US Publishers Mourn Bloomsbury’s Adrienne Vaughan

In News by Porter Anderson

Bloomsbury Publishing president Adrienne Vaughan has died in a boat collision reportedly off the Furore Fjord on the Amalfi Coast.

Adrienne Vaughan. Image: Bloomsbury

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘A Leader of Dazzling Talent’
Very difficult news from Italy today, as the international book publishing industry absorbs the news that Adrienne Vaughan, president of Bloomsbury Publishing USA—the American company—has died in a boat collision after renting what’s reported to be a seven- or nine-meter craft in Nerano at the western end of the Amalfi Coast on Thursday. Vaughan was 44 or 45, with reports today (August 4) varying on the point.

The Associated Press Rome reports that Vaughan, her husband Mike White, and their two children were on their way—with a skipper for their boat—to Positano. Their hired speedboat reportedly struck a large tourist vessel carrying more than 80 passengers, some of them celebrating a wedding.

The Italian wire service ANSA’s account matches additional reporting indicating that Vaughan was thrown from the chartered boat in the collision, hit by the boat’s propellers, and died as a result. Efforts to save her reportedly included ambulances and a medevac team dispatched to fly Vaughan from a pier at Amalfi to a hospital in Salerno, but to no avail. White reportedly was injured and has required shoulder surgery at Castiglione di Ravello. The two children are said to have been physically unhurt.

An investigation is reportedly being run now out of Salerno. Multiple accounts say the skipper of the chartered speedboat sustained rib and pelvis injuries requiring hospitalization. A report by Titti Beneduce and Luigi Martino for Corriere del Mezzogiorno places the collision in the coastal waters off the Furore fjord.

‘An Extraordinary Human Being’

Julia Reidhead, left, and Maria A. Pallante

In a joint statement sent to Publishing Perspectives this afternoon from The Association of American Publishers, WW Norton president Julia Reidhead, who is AAP’s board chair, and AAP president and CEO Maria A. Pallante, say, “Adrienne Vaughan was a leader of dazzling talent and infectious passion and had a deep commitment to authors and readers.

“She was elected to the AAP board of directors this year and made an immediate positive impact, speaking as a featured leader at our annual member meeting and participating with purpose on our diversity, equity, and inclusion committee.

“Most of all she was an extraordinary human being, and those of us who had the opportunity to work with her will be forever fortunate.

“We send our love and condolences to all those who are in shock and mourning at this tragic loss, most particularly her husband and two children, whom she spoke of frequently with great pride. We hold our colleagues at Bloomsbury in our constant thoughts and send prayers and very best wishes to her husband for the speediest possible recovery.”

Vaughan held a 2007 MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and had worked with Disney Publishing Worldwide in finance and also worked with Oxford University Press. In 2015, according to Bloomsbury, she was recruited back to Disney as its deputy publisher for Disney Book Group, and led the Disney Press and Marvel Press imprints.

Prior to joining Bloomsbury, she was with Trustbridge Global Media as senior vice-president “responsible for leading the design and integration of people, processes, and systems across a growing portfolio of publishers,” including Holiday House, Peachtree Publishing, and Candlewick/Walker.

Adrienne Vaughan took part in a panel discussion in the Association of American Publishers’ annual general meeting program. Clockwise from upper left are AAP president and CEO Maria A. Pallante; Princeton University Press director Christie Henry; Bloomsbury’s Vaughan; Julia A. Reidhead, president and CEO of WW Norton, and current chair of the Association of American Publishers; and Kumsal Bayazit, CEO of Elsevier. Image: AAP presentation

More from Publishing Perspectives on the United States market is here, more on Bloomsbury Publishing is here, more on the Association of American Publishers is here, and more obituaries are here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.