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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Great advice for writers and editors from The New Yorker

I've no idea by what act of creative accountancy The New Yorker manages to keep going but I'm delighted it does. To mark the magazine's 90th anniversary they've published this podcast which features lots of the magazine's key people talking about how the magazine is written and edited.

It's full of good thoughts. The secret of editing is not to come up with the best article but to come up with the best article the writer can write.

I like the one about the editor who told James Thurber not to bother improving his drawing because "if you get any better, you'd be mediocre".

I also like the other one about the editor who when she wanted to be abusive would scrawl the word "poetry" on a proof.

I think she was also the one who said "if you can't say it clearly it doesn't exist".


  1. They claim to have more readers now than at any time in their history. What is that that they do differently? Could it be a relatively generous subscription deal? Even for overseas posting to the UK it works out at about £1.50 per issue.

  2. I've toyed with a sub for many years - but one long do the issues take to arrive in the UK? I generally pick a copy up in WHS, but they're usually well over a week out of date when they hit the shelves.

  3. When do UK subscriber copies hit the doormat? Much behind US newsstand date??

  4. IN my experience the subs copies arrive before the UK on-sale date. And they also give you iPad access so you can read it as soon as it's published.

  5. Ahh thank you. And sorry for the double post - wasn't sure I'd sent first.

    Floreat Wakefieldia

  6. You will never regret it! It's available online, but it's not, like, a newspaper.