Alum Daniel Halpern, Founding Editor of Ecco, Still Inspired by Poetry

Wednesday, December 09, 2015
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- At San Francisco State in the 1960s, Daniel Halpern was such an indifferent student of literature that he enrolled in a class called Dumbbell English. His professor warned him that he would probably flunk, and urged him to drop the course. But Mr. Halpern passed, and a few years later, he founded Ecco, an independent press. He went on to shape the careers of some of the country’s most celebrated authors, among them Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Ford, Robert Stone, T.C. Boyle and Louise Gluck. On Tuesday night, Mr. Halpern will receive the Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction from the Center for Fiction, in a ceremony that will be attended by some of his most prominent authors, including Anthony Bourdain, Charles Frazier, Russell Banks and Ms. Oates. The award, which is named for the famed editor of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, is one of the few literary honors that goes to editors, publishers and agents.