2017 PEN Publisher Honoree

At the 2017 PEN Literary Gala, PEN America will honor Macmillan Publishers CEO John Sargent for his fierce advocacy for the right to publish and for serving as a defender of publishers’ and authors’ intellectual property rights.

John Sargent has a long history of advocating for the rights of publishers. After joining Holtzbrinck Publishing Group as the CEO of St. Martin’s Press, Sargent spent many years challenging censorship in various forums. Now the executive vice president of Holtzbrinck and the CEO of Macmillan—encompassing American imprints Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Henry Holt and Company; St. Martin’s Press; Tor/Forge; and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group—Sargent is responsible for the Macmillan higher education business as well as managing global trade business. A publisher’s publisher, Sargent is venerated throughout the industry as a stalwart of the values and dedication that undergird contemporary American literature.

Sargent is the longest-serving officer of the Association of American Publishers, for whom he has spent considerable time and energy lobbying for the publishing industry. As both a children’s book author and the former president of the Children’s Book Division of Simon & Schuster, Sargent’s devotion to the right to publish benefits readers of all ages. Sargent has also served as CEO of Dorling Kindersley Inc. 

In addition to his advocacy work in the publishing world, Sargent devotes himself to a variety of causes, serving on the boards of both the New York foster care agency Graham Windham and of the Ocean Conservancy.

“A pillar of the publishing world, John Sargent personally embodies the intellectual rigor, integrity, and public-mindedness that make publishing a noble profession. His leadership in the industry has served editors, writers, and booksellers alike, bolstering the strength of our community for more than three decades.”

—Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN America