About Pat Holt

Pat HoltPat Holt began her publishing career in the New York and Boston offices of Houghton Mifflin Company, beginning in 1969.  In the mid-1970s, she was senior editor and publicity director for the San Francisco Book Company, and in 1978 she became Publishers Weekly‘s first full-time Western Correspondent, where her territory ranged from the Rockies to Australia and Mexico to Alaska.

Pat was book editor and critic at The San Francisco Chronicle for 17 years (1982-1998) and was named a board member of The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in 1984. Her proposal that 1987 be declared “The Year of the Reader” was adopted by the Library of Congress, approved by Congress and signed by the President as Public Law 90-494 in 1986. Her second proposal, that 1989 be declared “The Year of the Young Reader,” was similarly adopted and signed into law in 1988. From 1986 through 1989 she formed and raised funds for the San Francisco office of The Year of the Reader.

Pat was the first nonlibrarian in 40 years to receive the American Library Association’s prestigious Grolier Foundation Award. A founder of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association, where she originated the idea for an annual BABRA Awards presentation, Pat was elected to the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle and later became its Vice President during a six-year term.

She is the author of The Bug in the Martini Olive, a biography of San Francisco private detective Hal Lipset, published in 1991 by Little, Brown and reprinted in 1994 as The Good Detective by Pocket Books. She was first editor for her partner Terry Ryan’s memoir, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, and chronicler of Terry’s adventures in the publishing trade (see The Terry Ryan Columns at Holt Uncensored).

Increasingly concerned about the plight of independent bookstores in their struggle to survive wave after predatory wave of chain bookstores, price clubs, discounters and Amazon, Pat resigned from The Chronicle in 1998 to create Holt Uncensored, one of the first critical blogs about the book publishing industry, launched by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association. As the growth of Amazon, Apple, Google, Goodreads, Smashwords and other forces in the book trade turned into a full-fledged publishing revolution, Holt Uncensored moved to its own website at


Today Pat continues to facilitate monthly book group discussions at Book Passage Bookstore in Corte Madera, California.  You can contact her at p.holt12@comcast.net.

One thought on “About Pat Holt

  1. Hiba

    I love your thoughts on both publishing and book stores. I hope to see more of you on Twitter. I’ve subscribed to this newsletter and look forward to more. Thanks!


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