‘Futurebook Critics and Cultural Curators in a Socially Networked Age’

Kiernan, Anna (2018) ‘Futurebook Critics and Cultural Curators in a Socially Networked Age’. In: The Digital Critic: Literary Culture Online. O/R Books, NY, pp. 114-123. ISBN 978-1-68219-076-0

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Abstract / Summary

Literary editors used to compare curating the books pages in a newspaper to ‘putting on a good dinner party’, in which a rich mix of authors would jostle for space at a lavishly laden table, according to James Curran’s chapter on ‘Literary editors, social networks and cultural traditions’ (Curran, 2000). How things have changed. Few authors now enjoy the luxury of retreating to their ivory towers to write – they must also engage socially, connect with communities and tweet. The role of reviewers has radically changed too. Getting paid to write reviews, let alone attending literary lunches and flat-planning review pages, is an increasingly rarefied role enjoyed by the few, and challenged by the many new influencers, professional bloggers and free reviewers on the block.

Literary critics, like many other arts reviewers, have been adversely affected by the decline of print sales and the growing avalanche of digital content. The quality press in the UK has cut back on critical writing about the arts, with the Independent on Sunday dropping ‘The Critics’ section in 2013 and The Telegraph halving its arts budget in 2008 and then cutting its head of arts in 2016. The Guardian has also cut back on its roster of staff reviewers, while continuing to grow its profile as a go-to site for podcasts, book groups and the ongoing business project of repurposing at-risk expertise through the Guardian masterclass programme. Tom Gatti, arts editor at the New Statesman told me that, ‘The volume of work has increased and the quantity of emails, pitches and releases has become suffocating’ (Gatti, 2016). So the trend towards creating umbrella roles for arts editors (in which the remit is to oversee all arts coverage rather than to lead on a specific cultural output) adds to the sense among some critics that theirs is an art-form that is undervalued, under-resourced and under siege.

Item Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: 978-1-68219-076-0
Subjects: Writing & Journalism > Literature
Writing & Journalism > Creative Writing > Professional Writing
Writing & Journalism
Courses by Department: The School of Writing & Journalism > English & Writing
Depositing User: Anna Kiernan
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2019 14:59
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2019 14:59
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/3079

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