The board of directors of Heyday, after an extensive search, is pleased to announce that Steve Wasserman has been named publisher and executive director of Heyday. He will succeed Malcolm Margolin, Heyday’s founder, who is retiring after 41 years of visionary leadership. Wasserman, currently executive editor-at-large for trade books at Yale University Press, will assume his new post on July 1. Until that time Heyday’s editorial director, Gayle Wattawa, will act as interim publisher, and Lindsie M. Bear, Heyday’s director of nature and environmental publishing, will serve as interim executive director.
Wasserman said: “I met Malcolm twenty years ago when I was editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review. I greatly admired his vision for Heyday and his knack for inviting nearly everyone he encountered to join him on his journey of celebration and joy and beauty. Malcolm’s passion for good books, his instinct for finding fresh voices, and his ability to inspire others in this quest have been exemplary. His shoes will be hard to fill. I’m honored to have the chance to try. I look forward to becoming Heyday’s chief cartographer as it maps the still-to-be-discovered riches of California in the years ahead.”
Wasserman, raised in Berkeley, is a graduate of University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining Yale University Press in 2012, Wasserman was a partner at the Kneerim & Williams Literary Agency, where he represented numerous authors, including the late Christopher Hitchens, Robert Scheer, David Thomson, Linda Ronstadt, Placido Domingo, and James Fenton; editor for nine years of the Los Angeles Times Book Review and a principal architect of the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, now the largest book festival in the country; editorial director of Times Books at Random House where he helped to publish Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father; and publisher and editorial director of Hill & Wang and the Noonday Press at Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Wasserman has served on both fiction and nonfiction nominating committees for the Pulitzer Prize, was a board member of the National Book Critics Circle, and a member for five years of the jury for the annual literary prizes awarded by the Commonwealth Club of California. He is a cofounder of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at the University of Southern California and a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities. He has taught cultural criticism at the New School for Social Research, New York University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Southern California. He has also written for a wide variety of publications, including The Nation, The New Republic, The Economist, the Los Angeles Times, the Columbia Journalism Review, and the (London) Times Literary Supplement.
John Donatich, the director of Yale University Press, commented: “Steve brought luster and allure to the Yale list, acquiring important books by such figures as Greil Marcus, Michael Roth, Martha Hodes, David Thomson, and David Rieff, publishing them with flair and gusto. He will continue to consult with YUP, particularly editing several key authors still to be published.”
Margolin commented: “I’m genuinely thrilled and honored that Steve Wasserman has agreed to take over as executive director and publisher of Heyday. I can’t imagine anyone with better professional skills, more depth and variety of experience, and a more impressive record of accomplishment and public service. He knows California and its many cultures with intimacy, associates easily with the best writers and deepest thinkers everywhere, and his ample playfulness and wit have always been at the service of a humane social vision. More than that, he’s great fun to be around; the world always seems so lively and full of possibility with Steve in the room. I expect that while continuing and perhaps even expanding the publishing programs Heyday has created, he will also lead us into areas more in line with his unique interests. I couldn’t be more pleased.”