The member diversity in the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) makes our goal of connecting, educating, advocating, and leading possible. As bookwomen, we believe “Books Have Power.” The Bookwoman welcomes Jane Kinney Denning (WNBA-NYC) to the “Power Behind the WNBA” interview series!
Tell us about yourself.
I am a writer, an editor, and the immediate past president of the WNBA. A lifelong publishing professional, I’ve served as the Executive Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach for the MS in Publishing program at Pace University for eighteen years.
Prior to that, I worked as an acquisitions editor and in various other positions at HarperCollins Publishers, Little Brown, and Van Nostrand Reinhold, among others.
My most recent published piece can be found on the VIDA website.
Why did you join WNBA?
I joined the WNBA after attending a wonderful National Reading Group Month event in New York City over ten years ago. I was so impressed with the event and the women running it that I had to join!
Since my job entailed working with young, aspiring publishing professionals, it seemed a natural fit for me to take on the role of the chairperson for Young Professional Outreach. That led to two terms as the NYC chapter president. After that, I served one term as the national president from 2016 to 2018. It was a very exciting time to be the organization’s president since the WNBA was celebrating its centennial.
The WNBA has been a life-enriching experience in so many, many ways for me—both professionally and personally. The friendships, business connections, leadership roles, non-profit experience, and the many opportunities to grow as a writer and publishing professional are the reasons I love the WNBA so much.
What value does the promotion of books bring to your community?
Comprised of a wide swath of book-related professions that are joined together around the common belief in the power of books to facilitate change, the WNBA is a vital community of bookwomen and men.
Today’s turbulent times makes books and literacy even more important. Books teach us empathy and compassion and understanding. It is so wonderful to be a part of an association that has been connecting, educating, advocating, and leading for over 100 years.
I encourage anyone whose profession or passion revolves around books to join the WNBA. There are so many opportunities to make meaningful connections, volunteer, make a difference in someone’s life, and contribute to society in a unique way.
What book has had a lasting impact on you?
As for a favorite book . . . that is such hard question! Some of the most important books in my life are biographies. Deirdre Bair’s Simone de Beauvoir, Blanche Weisen Cook’s Eleanor Roosevelt, and Roxana Robinson’s Georgia O’Keefe were all really beautifully researched and written.
As for fiction, one of my favorite recent books is Kyung-Sook Shin’s Please Look After Mom. She is a wonderful storyteller and the story is so human and humbling. I loved it!
Interview compiled by assistant editor Pam Ebel (WNBA-New Orleans).