At The Guardian, John Banville remembers Robert Silvers’s editing ability and knack for matching books with reviewers. “The FedEx package would arrive, containing a volume I could not imagine wanting to read, much less review,” he writes. “Yet a few weeks later I would find myself writing three or four thousand enthusiastic words on it, and wondering why I had not taken notice of this author, or that subject, before.” At the Washington Post, Christian Caryl writes that Silvers’s death came at the worst possible time for American intellectual life. “Bob’s legacy has had a profound and lasting impact on generations of American thinkers,” he writes, “and I can’t help thinking that, if we manage to survive this current era with our minds intact, we’ll owe him part of the credit.”
The New York Times has hired Jesse Green as co-chief theater critic. Green comes from New York magazine and will be sharing the role with Ben Brantley. He is replacing Charles Isherwood, who was fired earlier this year.
Nieman Lab looks at NowThis’s plan to expand their content beyond sixty-second videos on Facebook. After a $100 million investment in their parent company, NowThis has hired talent from MTV, the Huffington Post, and the now-shuttered Reported.ly in an attempt to move away from aggregation and publish more original video and reportage.
At the Times, Michael Paulson talks to Pulitzer-winning playwrights Lynn Nottage and Paula Vogel, who will both open their first Broadway shows this spring. Paulson reflects on the gender disparity on Broadway. Nottage’s “Sweat” and Vogel’s “Indecent,” he writes, “are the only new plays by women this Broadway season; by contrast, there are eight new plays by men (none of whom has credentials comparable to those of Ms. Vogel and Ms. Nottage).” Both women have also dealt with the frustration of having their award-winning plays stuck Off-Broadway. “But both are also thrilled to be here now,” Paulson writes, “and savoring the sweetness.”
Jami Attenberg asks readers to stop guessing which parts of her novel are autobiographical. Although Attenberg bears a striking resemblance to the protagonist of her latest novel—a single, childless New Yorker—she writes that she had no intention of writing an autobiographical novel. “If I had wanted to talk about the single life in a grand, public way,” she points out, “I might have written something like Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies or Kate Bolick’s Spinster.” Regardless, Attenberg hopes to someday be more accepting of questions about her personal life as it manifests in fiction, but she hopes readers will try to let go as well. “Fiction is a magic trick of sorts. But at its best it doesn’t just conjure up an imaginary world; it makes the real one disappear, it makes the author disappear,” she writes. “So, if you can, forget about everything else. Just be there with the book.”