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Lisa Lucas to Become Executive Director of the National Book Foundation

By Harriet Staff

Lisa-Lucas

The third executive director of the organization, following Harold Augenbraum, who has served as E.D. since 2003, Ms. Lucas is the first woman to lead the National Book Foundation. She leaves behind a position as publisher of art and politics magazine Guernica and has worked at other non-profit cultural organizations such as Tribeca Film Festival. As the New York Times notes, Ms. Lucas, who is 36 years old and African-American, will lead the organization “at a time of increased scrutiny of artistic diversity, from the recent discussion about nominees for the Oscars to the literary world, in which organizations like VIDA keep a close eye on the number of bylines given to women and minority writers.” Great news! More, via New York Times:

The National Book Foundation on Wednesday announced that Lisa Lucas would become the third executive director in the history of the literary organization, which presents the annual National Book Awards and has made recent efforts to expand its reach and visibility.

Ms. Lucas, 36, was previously the publisher of Guernica, an arts magazine with an international and often political focus. Before that, she had worked at other nonprofit cultural institutions, including the Tribeca Film Festival and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.

Ms. Lucas, who is African-American, will lead the foundation at a time of increased scrutiny of artistic diversity, from the recent discussion about nominees for the Oscars to the literary world, in which organizations like VIDA keep a close eye on the number of bylines given to women and minority writers. Ms. Lucas said the foundation had already made progress in that regard, and would proceed with “a continued sense of inclusivity” and “thinking about audiences at large.”

“We live in the world that we live in,” Ms. Lucas said, and need to continue offering an “invitation to participate” to all. “Readers are everything, readers are everyone. It should be about building one big massive audience that’s reflective of where we live.”

Congratulations! Learn more at the New York Times.

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Posted in Poetry News on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 by Harriet Staff.