Thursday, November 12, 2009

So Now Who's Going to Run the Paris Review?

Posted By on Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 2:05 PM

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Well, whoa, Philip Gourevitch announced last week that he'll step down as editor of the Paris Review next year, having decided he can't dedicate his time to both editing the last lit mag standing in the national conversation, and working on long-form reporting about Africa.

Over his five years as editor of the Review, Gourevitch was the late George Plimpton's spiritual if not immediate successor (everyone seems to be leapfrogging the brief Brigid Hughes reign; the first editor following Plimpton's death was rather quickly dropped, on account of the then-30-year-old was running the Review like it was, well, a lit mag, and not a black-tie literary institution. She now runs the lit mag A Public Space, which is basically the Paris Review for Brooklyn, and with fewer full-time employees). The handsome lit mag is distinguished for its canonical interview series and, under Gourevitch, an increasingly global eye: photojournalism, travel writing and reportage to go alongside stories from, more and more, foreign authors and lesser-known Americans.

Anyway, whoever succeeds Gourevitch—I'm assuming they're hiring from outside rather than inside—should probably be a renowned writer in his or her own right, and well-connected in the American and European literary community; but also someone with experience in the world, through writing (as a critic, reader and editor) and as a traveler and/or reporter, with a wide-angle view of world politics and literature. Someone of both life and letters, basically.

The first name that comes to mind is Aleksandar Hemon, for some reason. Thoughts?

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