The New York Review of Books Announces its 50th Anniversary:
New York, NY; January 2, 2013—The New York Review of Books announces plans for its 50th Anniversary with a year marked by special events, launching with a large public event at Town Hall on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 that will include contributors Michael Chabon, Joan Didion, John Banville, Mary Beard, Daniel Mendelsohn, Darryl Pinckney, and Mark Danner. In February of 1963, the Review published its first lone issue amid one of the most vexing strikes in American history, a printer’s strike that shut down seven New York City newspapers.
In November of that same year, encouraged by more than a thousand letters from readers, the Review began regular biweekly publication. The year-long 50th Anniversary celebration will be bookended by these two anniversary dates, marking the publication of that very first issue in February and the issue dated November 7, 1963 when the Review became what it remains today.
In addition to the February 5th Town Hall event, The New York Review of Books announces several other events in celebration of its 50th anniversary:
• In April, there will be a gathering in the Review’s honor at The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center.
• In October, there will be a symposium at The Metropolitan Museum with some of the journal’s most distinguished contributors.
• A special 50th Anniversary issue dated November 7th, 2013 will be published in the autumn.
• The New York Review Abroad: Fifty Years of International Reportage (A New York Review Book) will be published on April 2nd.
• A facsimile of the Review’s first issue – dated February 1, 1963 – will also be inserted into the August issue for all newsstand sales.
Additionally, The New York Review of Books website—www.nybooks.com—will include a special section devoted to the 50th Anniversary featuring talks with longtime contributors, notable articles from past issues, special multimedia content including photographs and video, and documents from the Review archives including manuscripts and correspondence. This special section of the website will also feature an interactive timeline of the Review’s first 50 years, with key pieces displayed alongside important dates in the magazine’s history and in the world at large.
Since its November 7, 1963 issue—every two weeks for fifty years—The New York Review of Books has continued to discuss central issues of American life and culture. The Review’s probing essays on the arts, fiction, poetry, politics, science, and history have established it as the “preeminent intellectual newspaper” in the English-speaking world, according to The Spectator. The idea of creating a new type of magazine—in which the most interesting minds of our time would discuss current issues and books in depth—was conceived by current editor Roberts Silvers, Barbara Epstein, Jason Epstein, Robert Lowell, and Elizabeth Hardwick. Robert Silvers continues today as the editor of The New York Review of Books.
Silvers had this to say about The New York Review’s future: “An independent, critical voice on politics, literature, science, and the arts seems as much needed today as it was when Barbara Epstein and I put out the first edition of the New York Review fifty years ago—perhaps even more so. Electronic forms of communication grow rapidly in every field of life but many of their effects on culture remain obscure and in need of new kinds of critical scrutiny. That will be a central concern of the Review for the years to come.”
With a worldwide circulation of over 135,000, The New York Review of Books has established itself, in Esquire’s words, as “the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language.” The New York Review began during the New York publishing strike of 1963, when its founding editors, Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein, and their friends, decided to create a new kind of magazine—one in which the most interesting and qualified minds of our time would discuss current books and issues in depth. Just as importantly, it was determined that the Review should be an independent publication; it began life as an independent editorial voice and it remains independent today.
The New York Review’s early issues included articles by such writers as W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Hardwick, Hannah Arendt, Edmund Wilson, Susan Sontag, Robert Penn Warren, Lillian Hellman, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, Saul Bellow, Robert Lowell, Truman Capote, William Styron, and Mary McCarthy. The public responded by buying up practically all the copies printed and writing thousands of letters to demand that The New York Review continue publication. And Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein continued as co-editors of the Review until Barbara’s death in 2006; Robert Silvers has been the editor since then.