March 4th, 2020
Mo Cohen passed away peacefully in his sleep at his house in Hamburg on March 4th. Best known as owner and director of Gingko Press, Cohen was a larger-than-life figure in publishing circles. For decades, Mo could be found joyfully holding court at the Frankfurt Book Fair, wheeling, dealing and cracking jokes. Born in Tel Aviv, but forged in New York, Cohen cut his teeth as a bookseller working at East Side Bookshop, New Morning Bookshop & later at the venerable St. Mark’s Bookshop in the 70s and 80s before becoming a sales rep at Schocken books. By the mid-80s he’d met the love of his life and eventual co-founder of Gingko Press, Julie von der Ropp. After a stint as an agent and rep for Black Sparrow Press, Cohen co-founded Gingko Press with von der Ropp in Hamburg, Germany in 1985. In 1991 Cohen and von der Ropp launched Gingko Press USA, starting out in John Martin’s Black Sparrow offices. Martin was a long-time friend and inspiration. Mo’s reverence of authors and approach to publishing in general was greatly influenced by Martin’s legendary loyalty and the Black Sparrow model. Cohen is survived by his sister Myra and will be widely remembered for his quick wit, infectious laugh and unorthodox approach to publishing. Mo was laid to rest in Hamburg.