NPR books editor Petra Mayer has died : NPR


Petra Meyer

Petra Meyer, beloved books editor at NPR’s Bureau of Culture, passed away Saturday.

Nancy Barnes, NPR’s vice president for news, said she died suddenly at Holy Cross Hospital in Maryland from what is believed to be a pulmonary embolism.

“Petra was completely NPR,” Barnes wrote. “To say that Petra will be missed seems simply inappropriate.”

Megan Sullivan, the book’s editor, said Meyer was obsessed with pride and had a penchant for science fiction, comics, and cats.

She shared these sentiments with readers and listeners through her reviews of sci-fi, fantasy, romance, thriller and storyboards, her authoritative on-stage reporting at Comic-Con, and her contributions to Book Concierge, NPR’s annual literary recommendation. a tool. She brings her enthusiasm to the guest chair from time to time Pop culture happy hour Podcast episodes.


Books Mallory Yu, film producer and editor at All things considered.

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Books Mallory Yu, film producer and editor at All things considered.

Alison Shelley / NPR

Prior to joining the team of NPR Books in 2012, she was its co-producer and co-director All things considered On weekends, he also spent time as a production assistant for morning edition And Saturday Weekend Edition.

Stu Rushfield, NPR’s Artistic Director, remembered fondly the pleasure of working with Mayer in the studio at the time.

“I can still hear her infectious laugh,” he wrote. “She was a caring person who really appreciated the good work of others.”

Mayer first arrived on NPR as an engineering assistant in 1994, while attending Amherst College. In 1997, she briefly joined NPR’s WBUR member station in Boston as a news writer. But she found her way to NPR in 2000, after earning a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and spending two years as a sound editor at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Her colleagues remember her for her wit, sarcastic sense of humor, and loyalty. “She’s like the keeper of a certain splendor for NPR,” said Rose Friedman, books and culture editor. It is the soul of the place.

“Her passion and enthusiasm were indelible, and she was generous in sharing both with you,” books Mallory Yu, Film Producer and Editor for All things considered.

Beth Novi, producer and editor at the Bureau of Culture, described her as a cheerful, generous, helpful, and friendly colleague. “She was always ready for anything—whether she’s doing a last-minute makeover, dressing up like the AP Style Guide for Halloween, or making a cheese hedgehog for an intern’s farewell party,” Novi recalls. “She was knitting hats for the new kids in the arts office—and it’s impossible to imagine a day at NPR without her.”

“She was one of the best and rarest of nerds, whose enthusiasm was passionate, honest, open, and charismatic.” Glen Weldon tweeted, NPR culture critic and network host Pop culture happy hour Audio notation. “She wanted you to love the things you love, and she gave you compelling and indisputable evidence to support her thesis.”

Mayer traced her nerd character to George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, which she happened to read in 1984 when she was nine years old.

“My dad handed me a copy of the book from old college and said to me, ‘Here, I think you’re ready to read this,'” she said in a 2018 interview with Faces of NPR. “I was hooked, and I started reading every dystopia I could get my hands on, and the rest It is history.”

In the same interview, she was asked what she liked about public radio. She replied, “Everything.” “Not really. We tell stories in a way no one else can, we raise voices that no one else hears, we’ll give you news but bring you joy in a way no other medium can.”

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