Lisa Lucas to Depart National Book Foundation, Transformations at the Top Levels in Publishing, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Lisa Lucas has announced she will step down as executive director at the National Book Foundation at the end of the year and move to Pantheon and Schocken Books to serve as senior vice president and publisher. Among her numerous accomplishments at the foundation, Lucas vastly expanded public programming and revitalized the National Book Awards by launching a new category for translated literature and amending award citizenship requirements. 

The New York Times reports that Lucas’s move to Pantheon and Schocken is only the latest in a series of changes at the top levels of publishing houses, set in motion by several retirements and the deaths of prominent executives including Carolyn Reidy, Sonny Mehta, Susan Kamil, and Alice Mayhew. New appointments “stand to fundamentally change the industry, and the books it puts out into the world,” write Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris.  

Daniel Bergner talks to Robin DiAngelo about the overwhelming demand for her anti-racist manifesto, White Fragility. Recalling several of DiAngelo’s workshops he attended, Bergner examines the efficacy of her anti-racism training. (New York Times Magazine)

“Though it may feel like 2020 has been going on for a year already, or five years, or a century, I regret to inform you that we’re only halfway through it.” Editors and contributors at Literary Hub highlight the best books still forthcoming this year

“It’s important for us to remember that essential workers are the heroes of their own stories, not just peripheral players in the stories of others.” Preety Sidhu recommends eleven novels with essential workers as protagonists. (Electric Literature)

“My twin brother, Jesse, and I were born marked by a history of colonization and a public discourse of race we can’t peel from our skin.” Billy-Ray Belcourt recalls his childhood and pays tribute to the family members who raised him. (Paris Review Daily)

“My objective was to make a pressure cooker of the house that the characters were in together.” Rebecca Kauffman talks to Guernica about character development and conflict in her new novel, The House on Fripp Island

Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman discuss collaborating to write a memoir of their friendship. (Entertainment Weekly)