Rakia joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) as senior editor in 2019. She acquires serious and literary nonfiction about contemporary culture, politics, the arts, sports, music, fashion, feminism, psychology, media, tech, race, gender, and class. That includes memoir and narrative nonfiction, 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. Rakia also occasionally acquires fiction, where her tastes lean toward diverse, marginalized voices with big, big emotions.
Prior to HMH, Rakia worked remotely from New York City as a senior editor at Boston-based Beacon Press. Strong entrepreneurial instincts and a 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 at Beacon, Rakia was honored by Publishers Weekly as a Star Watch honoree in 2018.
Before Beacon, Rakia held editorial positions at HarperCollins, Viking Penguin, and Kensington. She freelanced for six years, as well.
Outside of acquisitions and editing, Rakia has served as an adjunct lecturer at the City College of New York. Her weekly spring-semester course was “Introduction to Publishing.” For three years Rakia tutored writing, English and SAT prep at Upward Bound, an after-school program for disadvantaged teens. Additionally, she volunteered for two years as a writing mentor with the nonprofit organization Girls Write Now.
Rakia is a graduate of Haverford College and the Columbia Publishing Course, where she was an AOL Time Warner Scholar. Follow her musings on Twitter @rakiathegreat.