Spiegel & Grau

RESET: Ellen Pao’s Rallying Cry and Call to Action

Our new Igloo Book Buzz  selection is Ellen Pao’s RESET: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change,  to be published on Tuesday, September 19, by Spiegel & Grau.  In 2015, Ms. Pao sued a powerhouse Silicon Valley venture capital firm, calling out workplace discrimination and retaliation against women and other underrepresented groups. Her suit rocked the tech world – and exposed its toxic culture and its homogeneity.  RESET is a rallying cry – the story of a whistleblower who aims to empower everyone struggling to be heard, in Silicon Valley and beyond. 

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[caption id="attachment_7806" align="alignright" width="200"] Emi Ikkanda
Photo Credit: Matthew Dunivan Photography[/caption] Spiegel & Grau Senior Editor Emi Ikkanda: “I was alongside the many across the country who were rooting for Ellen Pao during her gender discrimination trial, and I was thrilled when we first had a chance to meet to discuss what would become this extraordinary book, RESET. She was among the first in tech to stand up when too many were afraid to, and I was inspired speaking with her and hearing about how she wants to tell her story to help empower others. Far too many women and people of color will recognize their own office experiences when they read Pao’s book, and I love how she then talks about how people can come together to drive change. She writes about how, when she was CEO of Reddit, her team shut down revenge and child porn and the worst harassment sites. She also talks about how what started as friends sharing tech experiences over take-out grew to into a team that launched the award-winning, nationally recognized advocacy nonprofit Project Include. I can’t wait for her book to be out in the world, as so many are joining her efforts to make lasting change.” [caption id="attachment_7805" align="alignleft" width="200"] Ellen Pao
Photo Credit: Helena Price[/caption] Ellen Pao: “I wrote the book to take people into my experiences so readers can recognize their own struggles or empathize with others with similar experiences. I called it RESET because the tech world needs a complete reset. We need to clear the biases and power imbalances from tech to give everyone a fair chance to succeed. And that might mean shaking out the people who don’t believe in real inclusion, and replacing them with people who have been unfairly excluded. When I had first joined tech, I believed it was a meritocracy, and I was shocked when I was yelled at when I asked for equal pay and when I realized that there was no way for me to get promoted. It didn’t matter how much money I brought in, or how strong my relationships were with entrepreneurs. I didn’t have the right gender. Attitudes are starting to change as more voices come forward, but we have a long way to go. What’s important is that we’re telling our stories and standing up for ourselves and for one another. If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change.” Here is a sampling of early praise RESET has received: “Necessary and incisive. As Pao detailed her experiences, while also communicating her passion for the work men often impeded her from doing, I was nothing short of infuriated. It was great to see a highly accomplished woman of color speaking out like this and hopefully this book will encourage more women to come forward, give voice to their experiences in the workplace, and contribute to meaningful change.”—Roxane Gay “When women assert ourselves, we confirm the bias against us, unconscious and otherwise. When we speak out, we identify ourselves as troublemakers. This is why I look forward to reading Ellen Pao’s account of her tribulations in Silicon Valley.”—Catherine Mayer, New York Times “Vivid [and] fascinating reading…The Broadsheet covered the Pao trial extensively, but it’s a very different experience to read her words now…. Her willingness to come forward paved the way for [other] whistleblowers… The ‘Pao effect’…is real—and, it seems, just beginning to make its influence felt.”—Fortune “Ellen Pao courageously confronted Silicon Valley’s venture capital world by calling out bias and discrimination. She emerged from a public trial, media frenzy, and a fierce battle against online harassment with her strength, spirit, and voice intact. In RESET, with deep intelligence and a gift for storytelling, Pao movingly and passionately recounts her path to activism and advocacy. Her book offers a rare glimpse into the gender roles and stereotypes that still pervade one of the world’s most profitable trading centers.”—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Spiegel & Grau’s Annie Chagnot Wins 2017 Ashmead Award

Spiegel & Grau Editor Annie Chagnot has been awarded the seventh annual Ashmead Award for exceptional editorial talent.  Named after book editor Lawrence Ashmead (1932-2010), the prize is designed to nurture the career of a promising young editor or assistant editor.

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  In addition to a term at the Yale Publishing Course, the Ashmead Award also provides the winner access to a distinguished group of book publishing editors, many of whom worked with Ashmead during his long career in book publishing.   “Annie impressed us all with her dedication, the significant list she has begun to build, and the enthusiasm of her colleagues for the quality of her work,” said Sharon Bowers, a partner at Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management, who took part in the selection process. Joining Spegel & Grau in 2013, Annie has edited such forthcoming books as YELLOW BIRD: Murder, Oil, and Justice on an American Reservation by Sierra Crane Murdoch; a memoir by essayist Mariya Karimjee; and BELOW THE EDGE OF DARKNESS, a memoir by marine biologist and MacArthur Fellow, Dr. Edie Widder. For more information about the Ashmead Award and to view a list of past winners, click here.

S&G’s Julie Grau on Author Janelle Brown and Her New Summer Page-Turner

In our Three Questions for an Editor feature, Julie Grau, Senior Vice President, Publisher, Spiegel & Grau, opens a window into the editorial relationship between her and author Janelle Brown, with a focus on  WATCH ME DISAPPEAR.  Published July 11, this “spider’s web of a novel” draws readers in from page one. The disappearance of a

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beautiful, charismatic mother, Billie, leaves her husband Jonathan and daughter Olive to piece together a maze of secrets and hidden truths. The author’s  ability to probe the dynamics of intimate relationships will make you question the stories you tell yourself about the people you love, and, as you read this book, keep you guessing until the very last page.  Now on to three questions for Julie and her responses.   What were some of your first impressions when reading the WATCH ME DISAPPEAR manuscript and how its characters, plotting and themes played out on the page? I knew from her previous novels how smart and skillful Janelle is about sketching characters, particularly teenagers, and how good she is at shading and adding nuance as events unfold. From the start I had a real fondness for Olive, the introverted teenaged girl on the cusp of self-discovery. I didn’t particularly like Billie—she reminded me of someone I used to know—which is to say that she was so convincing, she evoked a visceral response in me. And Jonathan is kind of nebbishy and a mess when the novel opens, but then gathers strength and becomes more compelling. The novel runs on the premise of the unknowability of the people you hold close, which to me is deeply intriguing and propulsive.
[caption id="attachment_7113" align="alignright" width="211"] Janelle Brown[/caption] How did you first discover Janelle and how has the editor/author process evolved from working on her first book to this new one? Agent Susan Golomb submitted Janelle’s first novel, ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING, to me in the early days of the imprint. I remember reading the novel the day it arrived, flat on the floor of my office (my back hurt) and marveling at Janelle’s amazing braided storyline and characters—so impressive for a first-time novelist. I knew she had a long career ahead of her—she was so good and assured. We have now worked together on three novels with two more (hooray!) on the horizon. We speak in a sort of editorial shorthand—Janelle is really great at taking notes and coming back with a second draft that is fresh, inventive, and surprising. By book four we’ll be approaching old married status, which makes me happy. Who do you see as the primary reader/audience for this novel and what thoughts and discussions it may trigger? WATCH ME DISAPPEAR was the book club read at the spring Random House Open House event and it provoked lively discussion. It drew comparisons to GONE GIRL and BIG LITTLE LIES. Pretty much everyone loved hating Billie and had no idea how the novel would end until the very last lines of the very last paragraph. The book club participants said they’d recommend it to friends who were parents—the question of whether Billie was a good mother or a horrible mother is ripe for debate.