David B. Olsen
Beginning with the Chicago Manual of Style, the University of Chicago Press’s rich history of reference books and guides has aided generations of authors, researchers, and students. In my capacity as associate editor I acquire new reference books that extend the scope of this list and encourage new voices and perspectives—both within the academy and beyond.
I seek to work with writers and editors who are knowledgeable, ambitious, and attuned to the elastic nature of written and visual communication. I encourage proposals for books that offer nuanced, contemporary takes on subjects of perennial interest as well as ideas for new works that aspire to become the authority on topics as yet unreferenced.
In addition to acquiring new books, collections, and guides, I manage Chicago’s paperback program, which includes new editions of backlist classics like Ida B. Wells’s autobiography Crusade for Justice and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. I am also responsible for Chicago’s reprint licensing program, which has brought to our list such distinguished books as Ivo Andric’s The Bridge on the Drina, Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, and Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like, among many others.
Prior to joining the University of Chicago Press in 2017, I was the managing editor of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri, and I have worked extensively as a freelance copyeditor with an emphasis on art and architecture. For several years I taught courses in writing, literature, and graphic novels at Saint Louis University, where I earned an undergraduate degree in Communications and graduate degrees in English. In what seems like another life altogether, I began my professional career as a writer at an advertising agency.
I share Chicago’s reference list with executive editor Mary E. Laur, the architect of our Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing series and editor for the Chicago Manual of Style. I also collaborate with editorial director Alan G. Thomas on the Phoenix Poets series, and I am assisted by editorial associate Matt Lang.