Rakia Clark is an executive editor at Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. She acquires serious, literary and narrative nonfiction; and gorgeously written, plot-driven novels and short story collections. Big emotions and topical subjects are a plus. Rakia often works with journalists and thought leaders writing about current events, public intellectuals and culture critics telling the world about itself, biographies of legendary figures, and some history, especially when there are obvious ties to the present day. In all cases, she looks for writers who have something to say.
Rakia's bestselling titles include Burn It Down: Power, Complicity and a Call for Change in Hollywood by Vanity Fair contributing writer Maureen Ryan; American Whitelash: A Changing Nation and the Cost of Progress by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Wesley Lowery; Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original by ESPN sports and culture writer Howard Bryant; and Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD by former Army captain and Missouri state legislator Jason Kander. Rakia's first acquisition at Mariner Books, Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir by Brian Broome, won the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, was named to the New York Times' list of 100 Notable Books of the Year, was a New York Times Editors' pick, and was selected as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Apple Books. Her forthcoming titles include The Black Joy Project, a literary and visual love letter to how Black folks thrive, by educator and activist Kleaver Cruz; Briefly Perfectly Human: Making an Authentic Life by Getting Real About the End by death doula Alua Arthur; as well as novels by National Book Award finalist Angela Flournoy, National Book Award finalist Deesha Philyaw, and #1 New York Times bestselling memoirist Augusten Burroughs. (Find more upcoming titles here.)
Prior to Mariner Books, Rakia worked remotely from New York City as a senior editor at Boston-based Beacon Press, where she published The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism by Howard Bryant (named a Best Book of 2018 by Library Journal); Full Dissidence: Notes From an Uneven Playing Field by Howard Bryant (named a Best Book of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews); Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Jonathan Rapping; and The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by journalist and firebrand Mona Eltahawy.
At Beacon Press, Rakia's strong entrepreneurial instincts and personable working style led her to develop book ideas from scratch alongside promising writers, and to cultivate a distinctive, "tradier" list for the publishing house. For her innovative and daring work, she was honored by Publishers Weekly as a Star Watch honoree in 2018.
Before Beacon Press, Rakia held editorial positions at HarperCollins, Viking Penguin, and Kensington. She freelanced for six years, as well.
Outside of acquisitions and editing, Rakia served as an adjunct lecturer for three consecutive spring semesters at the City College of New York. Her weekly course was Introduction to Publishing. Rakia tutored writing, English and SAT prep for three years at Upward Bound, an after-school program for teens. Additionally, she volunteered for two years as a writing mentor with the nonprofit organization Girls Write Now.
Rakia is a proud graduate of Haverford College and the Columbia Publishing Course, where she was an AOL Time Warner Scholar. Follow her musings and publishing evangelism on Twitter and Instagram.
2021 - present
2019 - 2021
2015 - 2019
2009 - 2015
City College of NY
2007 - 2009
2005 - 2007
2003 - 2005
2002 - 2003
Columbia Publishing Course
B.A. in English - 2001