Tucson Festival of Books

Tucson Festival of Books Names Abra McAndrew Executive Director

(Joanna Ramirez)

The Tucson Festival of Books, one of the nation’s largest book festivals, today announced the hiring of Abra McAndrew as its executive director. McAndrew’s start date with the festival will be August 5, 2024.

McAndrew is a 21-year resident of Tucson and a University of Arizona unit leader with impressive project management, fundraising, collaboration, communication, and operational leadership success. She also is an avid promoter of literature and literacy, including authoring The Booktender on Substack, a subscriber-based weekly digital newsletter that provides monthly themed reading lists and book recommendations.

In her new leadership role, McAndrew will be responsible for the festival’s day-to-day operations, strategic objectives, and fundraising and will report to its board of directors. TFOB is a nonprofit organization supporting literacy and is a premier community-based celebration of literature presented free of charge each March since 2009 on the UA campus.

“We are thrilled to welcome Abra to the Tucson Festival of Books,” said John M. Humenik, TFOB co-founder and chair of the board of directors. “Abra is a strategic thinker with a track record for creating exceptional programs and impactful results. Her impressive collaborative leadership and career achievements coupled with her passion for the written word is a powerful combination for elevating the festival and the organization to even greater heights going forward.”

 As an assistant vice president since 2016, McAndrew has led UA’s Access, Engagement and Opportunity initiatives. She has been responsible for strategies to improve college access for local students and strengthen the UA talent pipeline in partnership with businesses, K-12, and nonprofit organizations. She has led change management initiatives and has developed and implemented multiple grants and sponsorship relationships to increase college access and improve career outcomes for undergraduate students.

“The Tucson Festival of Books is a local treasure, also recognized as one of the best literary festivals in the world. I look forward to continued collaboration with colleagues at the University of Arizona as well as with the board, volunteers, staff, and new and existing partners,” McAndrew said. “Together, we’ll ensure a fantastic slate of authors and exhibitors continue to join us for this annual community celebration of literature.”

In her previous UA leadership roles starting in 2005, McAndrew has been executive director of online program development which launched the UA’s first online bachelor’s degrees, assistant director of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing working to connect students with corporate partners, and project director for Tucson GEAR UP. She also has served as a board member with Pima County Workforce Investment Board as well as the Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona.

McAndrew is a UA graduate with a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in English & Linguistics. She also is a graduate of Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and is proficient in Spanish.