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Viking Press (formally Viking Penguin, also listed as Viking Books) is an American publishing company now owned by Penguin Random House. It was founded in New York City on March 1, 1925, by Harold K. Guinzburg and George S. Oppenheim[1] and then acquired by the Penguin Group in 1975.[2]

Viking Press
Parent companyPenguin Random House
Founded1925; 93 years ago (1925)
FoundersHarold K. Guinzburg, George S. Oppenheim
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationNew York City, New York
Key peoplePresident-Brian Tart, Children's publisher Kenneth Wright
ImprintsPamela Dorman



Guinzburg and Oppenheimer founded Viking in 1925 with the goal of publishing nonfiction and “distinguished fiction with some claim to permanent importance rather than ephemeral popular interest.”[3] B. W. Huebsch joined the firm shortly afterward. Harold Guinzburg's son Thomas became president in 1961.[3]

The firm's name and logo—a Viking ship drawn by Rockwell Kent—were meant to evoke the ideas of adventure, exploration, and enterprise implied by the word "Viking."

The house has been home to many prominent authors of fiction, non-fiction, and play scripts. Five Viking authors have been awarded Nobel Prizes for Literature and one received the Nobel Peace Prize; Viking books have also won numerous Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and other important literary prizes.

The Viking Children's Book department was established in 1933; its founding editor was May Massee. Viking Kestrel was one of its imprints. Its books have won the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and include such books as The Twenty-One Balloons, written and illustrated by William Pene du Bois (1947, Newbery medal winner for 1948), Corduroy, Make Way for Ducklings, The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (1993), The Outsiders, Pippi Longstocking, and The Story of Ferdinand. Its paperbacks are now published by Puffin Books, which includes the Speak and Firebird imprints. From 2012 and as of 2016, Viking Children's publisher is Kenneth Wright.[4]

Viking publishes approximately 75 books a year. It is notable for publishing both successful commercial fiction and acclaimed literary fiction and non-fiction, and its paperbacks are most often published by Penguin Books. Viking's current president is Brian Tart.[5]


Viking Critical LibraryEdit

The Viking Critical Library offers academic editions of literary texts. Like W. W. Norton's Norton Critical Editions, all titles print the text alongside a selection of critical essays and contextual documents (including relevant extracts from the author's oeuvre). The series, which only saw sporadic publications in the late '70s and late '90s, has been dormant since 1998, with no new titles released since then. However, a number of existing titles remain in print.

Author Title Editor Notes
Don DeLillo White Noise Mark Osteen Published in 1998. As of September 2018, the latest publication in the series.
Graham Greene The Quiet American John Clark Pratt Published in 1996.
James Joyce Dubliners Robert Scholes Published in 1996.
James Joyce Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Chester G. Anderson Published in 1977. The only title which includes explanatory end notes.
Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest John Clark Pratt Published in 1977. Out of print.
Jack Kerouac On the Road Scott Donaldson Published in 1979. Out of print.
Arthur Miller The Crucible Gerald Weales Published in 1996.
Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman Gerald Weales Published in 1996.
John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath Kevin Hearle Published in 1997.

Notable editorsEdit

Notable authorsEdit

Viking Children'sEdit

In 1933, Viking Press founded a department called Junior Books to publish children's books. The first book published was The Story About Ping in 1933 under editor May Massee. Other stories published under the Viking label early in its history include Make Way for Ducklings (1941), The Twenty-One Balloons (1947) and The Story of Ferdinand (1936). Junior Books was renamed to Viking Children's Books at some point in the past. It currently publishes approximately sixty titles a year.

Notable authorsEdit


  • 10 Newbery Medals
  • 10 Caldecott Medals
  • 27 Newbery Honors
  • 33 Caldecott Honors
  • 1 American Book Award
  • 2 Coretta Scott King Awards
  • 3 Batcheldor Honors
  • 5 Christopher Medals
  • 2 Margaret A. Edwards Awards for authors S. E. Hinton and Richard Peck


  1. ^ Kenneth T. Jackson; Lisa Keller; Nancy Flood (1995). The Encyclopedia of New York City: Second Edition. New York: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300055368.
  2. ^ Egli, ed. (1975). "Viking Press Is Sold To Penguin Books". School Library Journal. 22 (4): 16.
  3. ^ a b Weber, Bruce. "Thomas Guinzburg, Paris Review Co-Founder, Dies at 84", The New York Times, September 10, 2010. Accessed September 13, 2010.
  4. ^ "Viking Children's Books". Penguin Random House. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  5. ^ "Brian Tart | The Bookseller". Retrieved 2017-09-13.

External linksEdit