Poets & Writers Names Melissa Ford Gradel as New ED

Poets & Writers, the literary advocacy organization, announced that executive director Elliot Figman will be stepping down after 43 years with the organization. Figman, who became executive director in 1981, will succeeded by managing director Melissa Ford Gradel. The transition will be official in January next year.

Gradel has worked with Poets & Writers for more than a decade, having come to the organization from Poet's House, where she was development director from 2003 to 2006.

“We are thrilled to continue our long partnership with Melissa as we write the next chapter for Poets & Writers. Melissa’s contributions to Poets & Writers and her commitment to our mission made this a natural choice—and one that will provide continuity in a time of unprecedented change,” said Amy Berkower, president of the Board of Directors. 

For his part, Figman said, “It’s been my honor to work together with such talented and passionate colleagues. While parting is, indeed, sweet sorrow, I’m delighted to pass the baton to Melissa, who has a deep understanding of our mission, vision, and values and is uniquely qualified to take the helm. As I reflect on my time at Poets & Writers, I’m so proud that we’ve built this organization to be a widely respected and trusted resource for writers. We’ve had the privilege of touching the lives of a large and diverse group of writers nationwide, and that gives me real satisfaction."

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