Pamela Paul says one of her goals as the incoming editor of The New York Times' Book Review
is to make the section "unpredictable."
Some contend the Book Review has been too predictable, at least in terms of who's featured in its pages. Authors Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner have argued
for years that the section features far more male authors than female authors, and figures from VIDA
and The Rumpus back up
When asked about VIDA's annual count of female authors, Paul said via email:
"Representing a diversity of authors and books is extremely important at the Book Review, and it will continue to be. And by diversity, I mean variety in every way: a diversity of author backgrounds and ideologies and arguments, a diversity of genre, a diversity of subject matter. While the VIDA numbers were indeed dismal overall, I was pleased to see that the Book Review has had a far better record than many other publications."
She didn't elaborate on how she would help diversify the section.
It's hard to compare the Times to other publications in the VIDA count because it reviews more books than many of those other publications. It's obvious, though, that there's a lot of room for improvement. The latest VIDA count
shows The New York Times Book Review featured more than twice as many male authors as female authors -- 488 to 237.
Here is my edited email exchange with Paul, who is serving as the features editor and children's book editor at the Times until she assumes her new role in May.