“Stories are how we proliferate thoughts and ideas, it’s how we influence culture.”  

Representation is important. From James Baldwin to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Donald Goines to Shaka Senghor, black authors have long used their creative works as a vehicle for creating empathy, shaping culture, and driving social change. When it comes to amplifying our voices and narratives, Todd Hunter is one of few black gatekeepers. 

An editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, Inc., Hunter has a hand in selecting what stories are found and published. Some of his authors include Ben Jealous, Marc Lamont Hill, Terrance Dean, Corey Pegues, Kent Babb, Yvette Johnson, Gerrick Kennedy, Walt Williams, Erik Malinowski, and Rob Hill Sr. 

Photo: simonandschusterpublishing.com/atria

After spending a few years on what he describes as a “lucrative, but unfulfilling” path in Marketing & Research, Hunter decided to pivot his career in a more gratifying direction. He resigned that position to pursue his MS in Publication Management at Drexel University.

Over the course of his ten year publishing career, Hunter has worked on numerous bestselling and critically-acclaimed books, amassing a list defined by culturally and socially relevant, voice-driven narratives. 

Photo: simonandschusterpublishing.com/atria

As a black man in an industry that scarcely has black men in it, Hunter has opened doors for writers that might not normally get a shot. He is mindful of the impact of our voices.

“Your place in this world relies upon how well you tell that story and how people understand you.”

But, literature is more than just a job for Hunter, it’s a lifestyle. “I have a community of friends, acquaintances, and co-workers and we all care about books and literature,” he shared. A Brooklynite, Hunter frequently attends events with black writers and intellectuals around the New York Area.

The narratives embraced by Hunter span the literary spectrum. In fact, he encourages everyone, even non-traditional writers, to try their hand at the medium.

 

“We all have something to say,” he said. “Your story is just as important as anyone else’s.” With the resounding success and increased representation of black narratives across all mediums, there’s never been a better time to write our stories.


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