November 12, 2019
People of the Press is back this week! Inspired by the Association of University Presses celebration of the people of AUPresses, we would also like to celebrate our dedicated publishing professionals throughout our 60th anniversary year.
Today we’re featuring our Rights Manager and Assistant to the Director, Julia Balestracci.
Hello Julia, what do you do for the Press?
I’m the Rights Manager and also the Assistant to the Director, Kathryn Conrad.
I handle all permissions and all other sub-rights requests, input and manage author royalties, and draft and manage contracts. I also do a lot of scheduling and coordinating for Kathryn and the Press as a whole. We are busy!
How long have you worked at UA Press?
It’s hard for me to believe, but I’ve worked at the Press since 2012.
The University of Arizona Press is committed to helping contribute to an informed society and enlightening readers. What’s one thing you’ve learned from your work?
I have learned that there is a growing commitment out there in the world at large to showcasing diverse voices and perspectives. Some of our most oft-licensed material was written by authors with disabilities, marginalized voices, and unique cultural perspectives. Increasingly, based on the requests I receive, I see a move to expand diversity in school curriculum at all levels.
What would people be surprised to learn about your work?
I think that people would be surprised to know the breadth of requests we get for re-use of material from our books. In addition to more standard requests for republication, we get requests for inclusion of author material in podcasts, various websites, radio shows, national newspapers, dissertations, plays, musical compositions, national and international museum exhibitions, public art installations, the ACT and AP tests, and the list goes on. Just this past year alone, our publications in whole or in part have been translated into Spanish, Czech, Mandarin, Korean, Swedish and Norwegian. I feel my work is constantly contextualizing the meaning and deep resonance of our authors’ scholarship in connection with the wider world.
Tucson has a thriving literary and scholarly community. What’s one of your favorite spots to hear authors, find a good book, or just curl up and read?
I’m an avid thrifter and a lover of vintage books (especially children’s books), so I love combing through a book section whenever I’m at one of the many thrifts in town, never knowing what I might come across. One of my all-time favorite finds is a copy of Frog and Toad Are Friends, inscribed and signed by Arnold Lobel, with a hand-drawn sketch of toad! For local bookstores, Antigone can’t be beat. I’m not picky when it comes to finding a spot to curl up and read; with two kids and a busy life full of interruptions, I’ll take any quiet and undisturbed moment I can get, irrespective of location!