Illustrated portrait of Lisa Lucas, AB’01

(Illustration by Arunas Kacinskas)

Lisa Lucas, AB’01

Questions for the College alumna and publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books.

What surprising job have you had in the past?

I was the telefund manager at Steppenwolf Theatre Company—a gig I managed to get because of my undergrad experience working as the U of C telefund supervisor for three years.

What would you want to be doing if not your current profession?

A radio host, 100 percent. Iʼm hoping I get to have a second act. I blame fellow Maroon Studs Terkel, PhBʼ32, JDʼ34, for this longing.

What do you hate that everyone else loves?


What do you love that everyone else hates?


What was the last book you finished?

The Rage of Innocence by Kristin Henning. Itʼs such a stunning—if infuriating—book that explores how our society criminalizes Black children and does not give them the essential opportunities for play, exploration, risk, and messiness that we allow their White counterparts.

What was the last book you recommended to a friend?

The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante, which is one of my absolute favorite books and, I think, one of the best literary explorations of female rage that exists.

What was the last book you put down before you finished it?

If I told you, Iʼd have to kill you. I work in books. This is not a safe question.

What person, alive or dead, would you want to write your life story?

Sam Irby. The only way Iʼd ever be interesting is if someone funny wrote the story.

What advice would you give to a brand-new Maroon?

Read everything you are assigned, and deeply. Youʼll be glad you did, and youʼll never have this kind of time again.

What did you learn at UChicago that still benefits you today?