January 02, 2019

Five Questions with Christina Amini: Chronicle Books’ Executive Publishing Director

Christina Amini’s first job was Administrative Assistant in the Internet Development Group at HarperCollins. (“No,” she says, “we did not invent the internet.”) Fifteen years ago she started out as an intern at renowned independent publisher Chronicle Books and rose up the ranks to her current position, Executive Publishing Director of Art, Food, and Lifestyle Publishing. In this role, she gets to be “a professional collaborator and creator”, one who brings new ideas to fruition every season. This involves overseeing the publishing of more than 120 books and gift products every year. Additionally, Christina is the steward of artist Susan O’Malley’s work, the Chair of Diversity and Inclusion at her children’s school, and a museum guide at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

We think you’ll enjoy her answers to our questions about her creative life, and we’re so excited Christina will be joining us at the upcoming 2019 In/Visible Talks conference.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“We’re old friends. The creative process and I have lived through highs and lows, frustration and joy. We show up for each other over and over again, and find a good laugh pretty often. And because of our solid history, I trust in the process, in the projects, and my partners in creative work.”

How or where to you find inspiration?

“Field trips! Friends. Coffee dates. SFMOMA. My colleagues. Toast at The Mill. Travel. French pastries. Making things with my kids and wife. Steep Ravine cabins. Books, bookstores, and libraries.”

What drives you to create?

“I love making good things with good people.”

Who is one of your heroes and why?

“Congressman John Lewis. Often called ‘the conscience of Congress,’ John Lewis is a living legend. Last year I had the privilege of working on gift products for the MARCH series of graphic novels, which tell the story of John Lewis’s life and the Civil Rights Movement. As an editor, I was interested in the way that they included so many people and events, even if at times it was too much to retain. But for John Lewis, the volume of people and protests was the most important part of the story. He changed the way I thought about social change, storytelling, and long-term commitment.”

Favorite digital or nondigital tool?

“My bike.”

BONUS ROUND: What are you reading now?

“Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.”