Photograph by Robin Harrison

A book lover's dream

September 16, 2021


By Amanda Loudin

While it’s a tough question to answer, Laura Keefe DeLange, ’04, says her favorite book is probably Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. As such, her job as senior marketing director at Knopf, Pantheon, and Shocken — all under the Penguin Random House umbrella — had her well-positioned when a colleague shared an anecdote about working with Tartt several years back. It’s just one aspect of DeLange’s literature-oriented job that she loves.

“The history at my company is so rich,” she says. “It is exciting to work with people who knew these authors early in their careers and helped to establish them as bestselling writers.”

Her job offers a dynamic atmosphere as the publishing world evolves with the times. Take, for instance, DeLange’s use social media to promote books. “When I started working in publishing after graduation, social media didn’t really exist,” she says. “I am part of a generation in publishing that saw its implications, and I learned as it grew and spread.”

A history major at UR, DeLange was uncertain of her career path when she graduated. “It didn’t feel right to pursue my master’s or academia,” she says. “But I knew I loved books and reading, so I started looking into publishing.”

She landed her first job in the industry through a fellow Spider’s cousin and has never looked back. “I began with a small company that published a lot of history books, so my degree came in handy,” she says.

These days she spends her time seeding interest in the work of authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Toni Morrison, Emily St. John Mandel, and many others. Although DeLange didn't envision this career path for herself, it has been the perfect fit. “I get to talk about books all day,” she says. “Every new book and campaign is a chance to find a new, specific audience. It never gets boring.”