Meet the Pinay book publisher behind Penguin Classics

The Filipino-American vice president and publisher for Penguin Classics – is trying to change the world one book at a time.


Elda Rotor was recently honored by the NY Philippine Consul General as one of the distinguished Filipino Women in 2018.

As Rotor created and edited several book series at the Penguin Random House, she nas also made it a point to publish writers of color, including Filipino writers – Philippine national hero Jose Rizal, poet Jose Garcia Villa, and novelist/playwright Nick Joaquin — making the best of classical Philippine literature available in the US.



“I pushed for more inclusion and not to represent a white male world’s literature but the world’s best literature.”

Elda Rotor is one of the very few minority women in a male-dominated publishing world.

She says in her younger days, she was often mistaken as the assistant and not the VP for Penguin, when meeting with potential authors.


“Every single one of them would look behind me waiting for the boss to come, and I’m that person who is having a meeting, they would assume I was the assistant, I was already the supervisor… very subtle but very normal. I don’t see that as much now with myself.”

In her 12 years in the publishing business, she has also stood up for truth.


“There is more urgency now more than ever to stand up for the truth. We launched a social media campaign #Remember, Resist, Rediscover to highlight valuable narratives and testament from history, that inform today’s issues and modern crises from immigration to systemic racism.”

She says these classics remind us today of what we learned from history, from writers of the past and from diverse and marginalized perspectives.


The next book she is editing is a memoir by transgender rights advocate Meredith Talusan.

The book is expected to be published by Viking, and to be released in 2020.


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