NPR books editor Petra Mayer dies at 46

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Mayer died at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Springs, Maryland, of what’s believed to be a pulmonary embolism, Nancy Barnes, NPR’s senior vice president for news, said in an email to staff.

“This is a heartbreaking loss for all of us at NPR, our Member Stations, and the millions of listeners in the public radio family. Petra’s passion for her work, her love for her colleagues, and her joy sharing books with public radio listeners have made a lasting impact. We extend our deepest sympathy to her family & friends,” NPR said in a statement Sunday.

Social media held a virtual wake for Mayer on Sunday, with an outpouring of grief from friends, colleagues and long-time NPR listeners and readers.

“She was a great champion of deep culture, as well as books and literature coverage at NPR,” NPR TV critic Eric Deggans said in an interview with CNN. “And we’re all shocked and saddened and her sudden passing. A great bright light at our department that has gone out too soon and too unexpected.”

A proud, self-proclaimed nerd, Mayer contributed to NPR’s Book Concierge and would be a guest chair on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. She joined the books team in 2012, NPR reported.

Glen Weldon, co-host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, said she was the “best and rarest species of nerd” on Twitter Saturday.

“She was ferociously intelligent, sardonically funny and made your day better by merely existing. She was a passionate voice for genre content that NPR will miss like an ache,” Weldon said.

Previously, Mayer was an associate producer and director for the weekend “All Things Considered” and was a production assistant for “Morning Edition” and “Weekend Edition Saturday.” She attended Amherst College and received her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.





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