Nan Talese, recipient of the Rye Free Reading Room’s inaugural Mayoral Award for her significant contributions to the literary arts
Literarati at the Rye Library
An organization’s annual meeting doesn’t always bring out the glitterati, but the Rye Free Reading Room’s February 27 meeting was another story. In the opening chapter, legendary editor/publisher Nan Talese shared her experiences on discovering and working with renowned authors, such as Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Jennifer Egan, Pat Conroy, and Peter Ackroyd, with Rye Record publisher Robin Jovanovich. Since 1990, this distinguished editor has had her own imprint at Knopf/Doubleday.
Talese, who grew up in Rye, has fond memories of curling up with a book at the Rye Free Reading Room, which she described “as a place of reverence.”
While not the only individual with roots in Rye to have made a significant contribution to advancing the literary arts, she’s in good company. Ogden Nash, Barbara Bush, J. P. Marquand, Elizabeth Janeway, Stephen Birmingham, Ethel Barrymore, Amelia Earhart, Clarence Day, and publisher George Putnam also resided in Rye, according to Jan Kelsey, a library trustee and former Fordham University Reference Librarian who has done extensive research on Rye’s rich history of writers, publishers, advocates for literature, and literary agents.
In the evening’s final chapter, Rye library Board President Francis Jenkins III presented the inaugural Rye Free Reading Room Mayoral Award to Nan Talese. Her name is now prominently displayed on a plaque above the stacks on the main floor.