By Robert Garran,A few weeks ago, my twitter feed lit up with tweets praising, of all people, an editor who had just died.
I could have let them pass by—like so many tweets—but these tweets had great passion. So in a spare moment I followed the link.
The tributes brought a tear to my eye: some of the world’s best writers explaining why Bob Silvers, editor of the New York Review for 56 years, was such an important person to them.
I love reading the New York Review, and yet I had never thought about its editors—which is the point of good editors: to the reader, they should be invisible, but to their writers, invaluable. The tributes told a universal story: what makes a great editor.
Among the recollections, Tony Judt is quoted in a note he wrote to Silvers: ‘… you will always be an extraordinary editor—by far the best I have ever known and, it seems fair to assert, by far the best there is.’
So, what made Silvers the best there was? Each reminiscence offered a different perspective— eighteen of them in the main article, plus over sixty more on the NYR website. These are some of the qualities of this best of editors, as recalled by some of his writers:
So editors, you may not be Bob Silvers, but there’s advice here that we all could follow.