Donatich Appointed New Director of Yale University Press

The Board of Governors of the Yale University Press appointed as its new director John Donatich, currently Vice President and Publisher of Basic Books. Donatich will succeed John Ryden, who retires as director of the University Press after 23 years of service. He will assume his duties on January 13, 2003, reporting to President Richard C. Levin.

As Publisher and Vice President of Basic Books during the last six years, Donatich has been responsible for the publication of over one hundred nonfiction and scholarly books annually. He has been responsible for building the editorial, marketing, production and design teams that have contributed to the growth and financial strength of this well-regarded publishing house. Prior to joining Basic Books, Donatich was at HarperCollins from 1992-1996. Initially he served as Director of National Accounts, and then Vice President and Director of Product and Marketing Development. From 1989-1992, he was Director of National Accounts for the Putnam Publishing Group.

“John’s energy, editorial acumen and commitment to serious scholarly publishing make him the ideal leader for Yale University Press,” Levin said. “He will also help the Press draw the best from the world of trade publishing while remaining true to its primary mission of disseminating knowledge.”

Peter Workman, chair of the Board of Governors of the Yale University Press, said, “John Donatich’s experience at Basic Books in overseeing its excellent publishing program is a wonderful match for the work required at the Yale Press.”

“John has a scholar’s taste, an editor’s eye and bookseller’s experience and judgment,” said Anthony Kronman, dean of Yale Law School and chiar of the search committee. “He possesses just the combination of qualities we sought when we began our search and brings to the Press great vitality, high idealism and a profound love of books.”

Donatich said, “I am thrilled to be joining this prestigious press and invited to help shape its future. Yale University Press commands a unique and leading position among university presses. I can’t imagine a better place for scholars and intellectuals to publish books.”

Among the authors Donatich has edited are Stephen Carter, Alan Dershowitz, David Frum, Christopher Hitchens, Douglas Hofstadter, Steven Pinker and Adam Phillips. He created the successful “Art of Mentoring” series, whose future authors include Jessye Norman, Todd Gitlin, Mary Pipher, Daniel Boulud and Wynton Marsalis.

Donatich graduated magna cum laude from New York University in 1982 where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1984 he received a masters degree, summa cum laude, from New York University. He has published articles and commentaries in numerous journals including the Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, The Nation and Bloomsbury Book Review and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He and his wife, Betsy Lerner, a literary agent and author, have a daughter, Raffaella.

Yale University Press was founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day. It was formally made a department of Yale in 1961, but remains financially and operationally autonomous. The Press publishes about 200 new hardcover and 100 new paperback books annually and has about 3,000 books in print comprising a broad and distinguished backlist. Yale University Press books have won many prizes, including five National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, and four Pulitzer Prizes.

Media Contact

Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345