From the editor
THERE was a wonderful piece in The New York Times the other week about Robert Silvers, editor of The New York Review of Books. It was about how he is at present receiving honours from thither and yon and, since he’s been at his post for quite some time, there was a bit of speculation about who might succeed him. The owner, Rea Hederman, had only this to say: ‘‘Bob is the editor. When he’s not the editor, then we’ll look for one. It’s not something we discuss or plan for.’’ As Silvers is 82 — yes, do not adjust your eye, 82 — you could have forgiven Hederman for having a contingency plan, but if he has one, he’s not telling. And not only is Silvers still working hard every day (apparently his assistants have to work in shifts, so lengthy are the hours he puts in), it appears as if those days are well spent, given the lively and pertinent range of topics the publication covers. What really tickled my fancy was an anecdote relating to Silvers’s extremely close attention to detail. Classics scholar Daniel Mendelsohn was, apparently, on an Aegean cruise when he had to go to the bridge to receive an urgent message. The caller was Silvers, getting in touch ‘‘to question [Mendelsohn’s] choice of the word ‘compelling’,’’ reported the NYT. What bliss. This story has particular piquancy for me as yesterday I clocked up 25 years on The Australian, and here I was thinking it was a long time. In Silvers’s circles it’s the blink of an eye. Most of my time at the Oz has been connected with the arts in one way or another, so it’s been more fun than one could ever hope for. My thanks to all. And no, this isn’t a farewell; just a moment to count blessings.