After a stellar publishing career of more than 35 years, including almost 28 at UNC Press, our beloved colleague and executive editor Elaine Maisner has decided the time is right to take a well-deserved retirement.
Elaine first entered into university press publishing by working at Yale University Press, serving in several roles in acquisitions, administration, and contracts and rights management. She joined the UNC Press team in 1994, initially as manager of rights and contracts before moving into an acquisitions role. Her skills and interests were well aligned with opportunities the Press saw for expanding its list in both size and scope. She proposed that the Press consider an expansion into the field of religious studies. Today, the lists she established and developed over the years, including the Islamic Civilization & Muslim Networks series and the Where Religion Lives series, are regarded as field-defining. Elaine has been routinely sought out for her expertise by professional organizations, university departments, leading publications, and other outlets.
Elaine has taken our Latin American and Caribbean studies to new heights as a destination list. Building from a small foothold established in the late 1980s, she has also piloted us into food studies as well as cookbook publishing. She helped turn Mildred “Mama Dip” Council into a best-selling author, boosting the reputation of southern chefs and the diversity of the region’s foodways, and envisioning the very successful twenty five volume Savor the South Cookbooks series. The final book in that series, Michael Twitty’s Rice, was named one of the best cookbooks of 2021 by the New York Times.
Just as she has been dedicated to the Press’s regional publishing mission, she has helped strengthen our position as a global publisher with her acquisitions and commissioning in international and global studies, Islamic cultures and civilizations, and more. She has also been at the forefront for the Press’s movements into digital and open access publishing, working collaboratively with partners like the MAVCOR material culture of religion archive at Yale University, the Center for Digital Scholarship at Emory University, Fulcrum, and the Institute for the Study of the Americas at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Elaine has also been a tremendous mentor to junior colleagues throughout the industry and has consistently sought to serve the Association of University Presses community via panels at its annual meetings and committee service. We know many have cherished the chance to catch up with Elaine over coffee or a meal on the conference circuit and will miss that greatly. But you can be confident no one will miss her more than her UNC Press colleagues!
Among the many wonderful things about working with Elaine, those who know her know she is a person of many passions and interests. She has said regularly to her colleagues that she is addicted to her work as an editor—this work is indeed a hard habit to break—but we are all thrilled that Elaine will soon have more time to pursue the many other things that bring her joy.
Please join us in congratulating Elaine on a terrific career and on all that lies before her.
Wyndham Robertson Editorial Director