Ruth Dickey will join the National Book Foundation as executive director on May 17. She has served as executive director of Seattle Arts & Lectures since 2013. Former lead Lisa Lucas, who serves on the NBF board now, says in the announcement, “Ruth Dickey’s extraordinary skill set—developed over many years as an exceptional, thoughtful, and dynamic leader in the nonprofit literary space—is precisely what the National Book Foundation needs to charge forward,. Her experiences working across the country help to remind us all that this work is for everyone, everywhere.” David Steinberger, chair of the National Book Foundation’s board of directors, adds, “Ruth Dickey brings the ideal combination of expertise and experience to lead the Foundation and advance our unique mission. We were looking for a proven literary leader with a track record of engaging with a broad range of communities from all across our nation, and Ruth brings that and more to this role.”
At Chronicle Books, Neil Egan has been promoted to design director, entertainment; Joyce Lin to senior publicist, food & lifestyle; and Cythnia Shannon has been promoted to senior marketing manager, food & lifestyle. Sam Mariucci has joined as financial analyst; Joelle Engolia as marketing manager, games & toys; and Lucy Medrich as associate managing editor, children’s.
Dale Williams becomes associate editor for Thomas Nelson Study Resources. He moves over from his visual content editor role for Zondervan Academic, Zondervan Reflective, and Zondervan and Thomas Nelson Bible product lines.
The principals at Kingsford Campbell are going separate ways, with Julia Kingsford representing her clients at Julia Kingsford Ltd, and continuing her other roles, while Charlie Campbell will operate as Charlie Campbell Literary Agents.
The LA Times looks at the strong book-to-film business, and includes a piece on eight agents, managers, scouts and executives who help make it happen.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s NOTES ON GRIEF, “a work of meditation, remembrance, and hope, written in the wake of her father’s death,” will be published by Knopf on May 11.
Ken Follett‘s new novel NEVER will be published on November 9 by Viking. The publishers describes the books as a “new departure” for Follett and “more than a thriller, an action-packed globe-spanning drama set in the present day.”
At Poets & Writers, M. Allen Cunningham spoke to Riverhead editor-in-chief Sarah McGrath about the trajectory of her career and her work at the imprint. She recalls from her early days, when she left her job as Sonny Mehta’s assistant to become an editor at Scribner, he said, “But you haven’t learned all there is to learn yet.” And she replied, “That is certainly true, but there aren’t that many ladders that come dangling down in publishing. And when one comes and it’s heading in a direction that you want to head, you get on the ladder.”
On the midlist: “One of the reasons I came to Riverhead was to create a place where there was no midlist. To bring up the word ‘midlist,’ you’re already making a compromise. You’re saying the potential and the effort should be calibrated based on the advance, or some other preexisting status measure or something. And that’s not the way we go into this.’
She notes separately, “Riverhead is a very small list, and it allows us to be really agile and creative and to invest in the writer in a way that’s a very long-term plan. By invest I don’t just mean financially, I mean in terms of the creative energy and industry we put into the publicity and marketing from very early on. We publish authors, not books. The goal is to grow writers over time, and if you look at our list, we do.”
On her assessment of new projects: “My job is to find the few that I think can achieve escape velocity and not get lost in the very large pack. So I’m not deciding which books are worthy of publication by anyone, I’m just looking for the books I think I can make work on my list at Riverhead.”
Audiobook producer RBmedia acquired Booka’s audiobook publishing business and its full catalog of Spanish language titles. Booka, a leading audio producer in Spain, will retain its professional services audio production business.
Princeton University Press is launching a new grant program for underrepresented authors called Supporting Diverse Voices: Book Proposal Development Grants. The program will offer “direct support and coaching to scholarly authors preparing to draft a book proposal, covering “all associated costs of this process” and pairing authors with a Princeton University Press editor for mentorship. The first application cycle runs February 15 to April 1 and will be open to “women, transgender, and gender-expansive authors in science and mathematics.”