>Children’s book publishing history is marked by scandalous firings and layoffs of editors; see Leonard Marcus’s Minders of Make-Believe for some of the stories. I took one on a dozen years ago, but this latest round: wow. Emma Dryden and Kevin Lewis of Simon & Schuster are the most recent of many veteran editors and publishers who have left their positions in the past year; the list also includes Brenda Bowen, Ginee Seo, Melanie Kroupa, Michael Eisenberg, Joanna Cotler and Laura Geringer. (I’m a little leery of naming names here; when Leonard wrote last year in Minders that Susan Hirschman had been dismissed forty-five years ago from Harper Junior Books, Susan wrote to the Horn Book to correct the record, saying she had resigned. If you feel unjustly included or unmentioned, my apologies in advance.)
Beyond my sympathy and good wishes for all these individuals, I only have questions about what this disposal of proven talent means for the future of children’s publishing. And they really are questions, not opinions in disguise: Will lists get smaller? (They should.) Or, will editors need to edit more titles? Will the increased reliance on editorial freelancers or “editors at large” change what sorts of books get published? Does company history matter, and who are its custodians? What happens to a profession when many of its leaders are removed from positions of authority? Will new leaders emerge (and how will they lead?), or will everyone just get a little more gun-shy?
I’m sure you have questions of your own, so ask them here. And I’d love for anyone to take a stab at some answers.