Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Harper's Magazine Hires Paris Review Editor

Saying she has "the absolute right credentials and literary sensibility for what we need,” Harper’s editor Ellen Rosenbush said of Deidre Foley-Mendelssohn.  The former Paris Review Daily blog editor will begin her work in early April.  Her replacement at The Paris Review has yet to be named.

Harper’s recently came in a distant fifth in the annual by-line count of prestigious magazines as tallied by VIDA, a foundation for women in the literary arts, lagging behind The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation and The Paris Review in overall gender equality.

Rosenbush said she tries to have an "xx byline" in every issue and is always looking for women writers.

“It’s a mandate,” she acknowledged.

Are female editors better at bringing in women writers?

“I think it was easier for me,” she said.  “There are certain women that I’ve always admired that I went after."  These included Zadie Smithand Susan Faludi, who did "a big cover piece for us, and I’ll try to get her back.”

Foley-Mendelssohn replaces Gemma Sieff, who was named culture editor at Town & Country magazine earlier in March.

“We will miss Gemma,” Rosenbush said.  “Town & Country is a very different type of magazine, but it’s a very big opportunity for her.”

One thing the nation's second-oldest magazine has in common with Hearst’s glossy social register rag is obvious: both approach the Internet and digital editions with an open mind, although, unlike Town & Country, Harper’s posts its content online, even if behind a pay wall.

From her point of view, although Rosenbush stressed that, despite her publisher’s disdain for the web, Harper’s is in the midst of a website overhaul, due to be launched in the fall. “Obviously it’s with Rick’s approval,” she said.

The new website will make a limited amount of content available for free, but most of the current issue will stay behind the pay wall.

“We in editorial are very, very, very excited about it,” Ms. Rosenbush said of the redesign. “I can’t say it more strongly.”

Copyright 2011   AmSAW

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