Thomas Grady, chief executive officer and publisher of Ave Maria Press, is being honored with the Association of Catholic Publishers 2020 Hall of Fame Award for his contributions to Catholic publishing.
“I cannot think of a person more deserving of this honor than Tom Grady,” said Rev. Anthony V. Szakaly, C.S.C., chairman of the board of Ave. “Tom epitomizes all the best in Catholic publishing, providing excellent leadership of Ave Maria Press in challenging times for the industry. He has served the Church well in helping Ave become a leader in religious and spiritual trade books, high school catechetical texts, and parish resources. He is focused on ensuring that the Press is an essential ministry of the Congregation of Holy Cross in making God known, loved, and served.”
Grady joined Ave in 2005. Prior to that, he ran his own literary agency and served as publisher, editorial director, and editor at HarperSanFrancisco (now HarperOne) from 1986 to 1997. He was also an editor at both Winston-Seabury Press and Meadowbrook Press.
“I’m so thankful to the ACP and to those who nominated me for this award,” said Grady. “I’m aware of some of the previous award-winners, and I’m honored to be included in their company. This year marks my fortieth year in book publishing, and I can say without a doubt that my nearly fifteen years at Ave Maria Press have been the most fruitful and satisfying in my career. The authors we publish and the colleagues I work with are superb, and I’m going to miss them a lot when I retire in the fall. Further, the opportunity to serve the Church and the Congregation of Holy Cross has been a real blessing in my life.”
In addition to his duties as publisher and CEO, Grady also took on the role of editorial director for the past few years. During that time, the publishing team increased the number of titles released from thirty to forty annually.
“We are so blessed to work with Tom, and there is no one who exemplifies the best in Catholic publishing more,” said Karey Circosta, associate publisher and vice president of sales and marketing. “Tom is a compassionate and insightful leader who makes everyone at Ave better for working with him.”
Perhaps Grady’s most important contribution to Catholic publishing as a whole is his commitment to the development of authors whose works have since been recognized as trailblazing for the Catholic Church, including Rev. Michael White and Tom Corcoran, Lisa M. Hendey, Brandon Vogt, Brian Doyle, Joyce Rupp, and Paula Huston.
Grady’s work has enabled Ave to reach new audiences with the variety of books we publish in our four imprints—Ave Maria Press, Sorin Books, Christian Classics, and Forest of Peace. In addition, when guiding the publishing team during acquisition of new books or the republication of classics, he not only looks at whether books will sell well but also whether they are important to the life of the Church.
Grady also has been integral in enabling Ave to work closely with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee on the Catechism to strengthen our textbooks and to provide valuable feedback to the committee about the high school textbook marketplace.
Grady appreciates and promotes the importance of Ave’s heritage as an apostolate of the Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers—a history that dates back more than 150 years with the founding of The Ave Maria magazine by Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C. Under Grady’s leadership, Ave has published a number of books by Holy Cross priests and brothers.
“Tom Grady has been a blessing not just to Ave Maria Press, but to the entire apostolic effort of the Congregation of Holy Cross,” said Rev. William M. Lies, C.S.C., provincial superior of the Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers. “Our education and parish ministries have been so much enhanced by Tom and his wonderful team's great work, as have so many ministries of the Church. We have all been blessed by Tom's vision and leadership. We're so very grateful to Tom!”
He is much admired by both authors and his colleagues in the publishing industry.
“Our faith community has been enriched by the vision, the care, and the professionalism of Tom Grady,” said Joe Durepos, who retired in 2018 as executive editor of trade acquisitions at Loyola Press. “We all owe him a generous thank you and a blessing forward.”
Joyce Rupp has been a bestselling and award-winning Ave author for more than 30 years. “Working with Tom Grady as my publisher is somewhat like approaching a ripened field of wheat,” she said. “Tom’s vast expertise, personal wisdom, and respect of authors wait to be harvested every time I bring a manuscript to him. I’m deeply grateful for the trusting relationship I have with this remarkable publisher.”
Paula Huston, National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and the author of two novels and seven works of spiritual nonfiction— including Simplifying the Soul and One Ordinary Sunday—first met Grady when he keynoted a writer’s conference in 1996. He eventually became her agent. “He has always had the vision and the patience for me to catch up with what he is seeing,” Huston said. “And then the endurance to help me get these books into the best possible shape. I owe my career as a Catholic writer to Tom. And he has also been the very finest of friends.”
Rev. Michael White and Tom Corcoran, authors of the bestselling and award-winning Rebuilt, said Grady’s humility, thoughtfulness, and kindness, “coupled with real wisdom and a lifetime of experience guided our first-time effort to bestseller status. Tom is a publisher authors can only hope for.”