The WNBA selected Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, as the 2019 WNBA Award winner.
The WNBA Award is presented every other year to “a living American woman who derives part or all of her income from books and allied arts, and who has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation.” The award has been presented continuously since 1940, originally every year and since the mid-1970s, biennially.
Lisa Lucas was selected for using her position as Executive Director of the National Book Foundation to advance the NBF’s mission of producing numerous educational and public programs that help connect readers to books in new and meaningful ways.
In recent years she has become the quintessential advocate for books. Her work with the NBF has taken the organization to new levels, bringing attention to the NBF beyond the National Book Awards. She has launched and enriched numerous programs that promote books and connect people to literature.
Former Steppenwolf Theater Company administrator and publisher of Guernica Magazine, in 2016 Ms. Lucas stepped into the top position at the National Book Foundation. In 2017, she was quoted as saying that the increased diversity in winners in recent years is “about addition. A bigger table.” She is the first woman and first African-American to hold the position. She had this to say about it: “Being the first of anything in any job or any calling is sort of a complicated experience… Of course, one feels proud of one’s achievements… But also, it just shines a light on how many people should be sitting where you are.” (from Lindsay Schneider’s interview in Vanity Fair, Nov. 15, 2017
The WNBA Award was presented as part of WNBA’s National Meeting on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
Lisa Lucas is the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the Publisher of Guernica, a non-profit online magazine focusing on writing that explores the intersection of art and politics with an international and diverse focus. Prior to that, she served as Director of Education at the Tribeca Film Institute, on the development team at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and as a consultant for the Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and ReelWorks Teen Filmmaking. Lucas also serves on the literary council of the Brooklyn Book Festival. Find her on Twitter at @likaluca.