NYTBR Smackdown

The Observer leaks the shortlist for Chip McGrath’s replacement.

SARAH CRICHTON: Former publisher of Little, Brown, fired, with charges of commercialism and fights with Warner publisher Maureen Egan. Accused by Joe McGinniss of not promoting books. [Working glimpse of Little, Brown.] Before that, editor at Newsweek. Recently worked with Liebermans and collaborated on A Mighty Heart, Marianne Pearl’s book on her husband Daniel.

The Upshot: She was a champion of popularizing literary fiction at Little, Brown. And her journalism background and brief stint as an insider is a plus. Strong personality will be either problematic or embracing.

ANN HULBERT: Slate contributor. Wrote Interior Castle: The Art and Life of Jean Stafford and child development book. Acknowledged as “baby expert” by Boston radio.

The Upshot: Varied journalism background, including books, but emphasis of late has been outside the fray. Non-fiction edge?

BENJAMIN SCHWARZ: Literary editor of The Atlantic Monthly. On the National Book Critics Circle Board until 2006. Delivered clear manifesto in last Atlantic on why certain books are reviewed.

The Upshot: Schwarz embraces obscure work and is clear about his intentions. Although I’m not convinced that the Caitlin Flanagan Dr. Laura review represents the pop-to-literary balance that Keller is hoping for.

JUDITH SHULEVITZ: Writer of the Close Reader column in the NYTBR, which stopped last year. Ex-New York editor of Slate. Made so-so attempt to understand blogs. Might be counted upon to profile juicy disputes. Attacked Dave Eggers.

The Upshot: For those looking for some good fights, Shulevitz might be the one to do it. However, given her power couple status and connections, it’s likely that the bluster may be more talk than action.


[UPDATE: It’s Schwarz, not Schwartz. Blame really bad Mel Brooks movies for the problematic spelling.]

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