Ms. Lucas is sponsored by the Hudson Group
Lisa Lucas 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 is the executive director of the National Book 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.”
The National Book Awards have been issued since 1950, but the National Book Foundation was formed in 1986. Its first executive director, Neil Baldwin, served until 2003. Harold Augenbraum, his successor, announced last year that he would be leaving the post. Ms. Lucas officially began in the new role on March 14, 2016.