After drastically cutting back its books section last summer, the Globe and Mail is making yet more changes in the literature department. Editor Martin Levin and assistant editor Jack Kirchhoff will no longer serve in their posts, leaving the national newspaper without a literary editor.
In an interview with NOW Kirchhoff bemoaned the lack of ads "even during the busiest release season," and warned that literary criticism in Canada is in crisis.
Levin echoed the sentiments, remarking that criticism has given way to celebrating the first scoop.
"It's all about celebrity now and being the first one to come out with a review, as if the first review is definitive," says Levin. "But a book review should be only an opening salvo, the beginning of a conversation."
But except for specialty publications, there's not much room for that.
"The literary venues are drying up, " says Levin, "which is a problem when you consider how important they are to our cultural identity. I suppose that blogs will take over now, but they tend to appeal to people who are already in line with the blogger's viewpoint."