National Search Finds the Best Candidate To Lead the UVA Press Was Already Here

September 2, 2022
Eric Brandt stands with hands folded in front of a brick building with white columns.

“University presses are the laboratories of the humanities, and I firmly believe that the ideas and arguments they publish can and do change the world,” Eric Brandt said. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

The University of Virginia Press has appointed Eric Brandt as its new director, starting Sept. 1. Brandt is a widely respected publishing professional with a long and versatile career in both scholarly and trade publishing.

He began his career managing publicity at Columbia University Press after receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia, and then moved on to several trade – otherwise known as retail – publishers, including Basic Books and HarperCollins, where he had a highly successful tenure directing marketing and publicity. Brandt shifted to acquisitions, acquiring New York Times best-selling titles for Harper, before rejoining the university press world.

He first worked at Yale University Press, where he was senior editor for humanities, and then as executive editor in history at Stanford University Press, where he led the creation of the Redwood Press imprint and was instrumental in the launch of the press’s digital humanities publishing program.

In 2015, Brandt joined UVA Press as assistant director and editor-in-chief. An innovative leader at UVA, he has stressed a new level of departmental collaboration, developing a list that seeks the highest engagement with its readers, including researchers and instructors, and spearheading UVA’s open-access initiatives.

Brie Gertler, UVA’s vice provost for academic affairs, said that even among a nationwide pool of strong candidates, “Eric stood out for his extensive and varied experience in the industry and for his passionate commitment to scholarly publishing. I have every confidence that he will sustain and build on the press’s record of excellence.”

Brandt said he is eager to take on his new role.

“University presses are the laboratories of the humanities, and I firmly believe that the ideas and arguments they publish can and do change the world. I’m humbled and thrilled to support the University in amplifying the research of our remarkable authors. I’m grateful for the faith the vice provost, her search committee, UVA’s faculty, and the press staff have placed in me. It is a tremendous privilege and honor.”

Brandt takes over from former director Suzanne Moomaw. She is returning full-time as a faculty member in UVA’s School of Architecture, where she chairs the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning. Moomaw’s many accomplishments during her tenure include establishing the new regional-trade imprint Rivanna and conceiving a soon-to-be-launched series on three pressing issues of our times – democracy, race relations and sustainability.

The University of Virginia Press, founded in 1963, publishes a range of books to advance intellectual topics of interest – not only from UVA, but from other scholars and institutions of higher learning. The editorial program focuses primarily on the humanities and social sciences with special concentrations in American history, African American studies, Southern studies, literature, ecocriticism, architecture, and regional books. For 20 years, it also has published innovative, peer-reviewed digital projects in American history and literature under its electronic imprint, Rotunda.

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