Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Losing Sara Nelson

It's funny how someone just doing their job can become a quasi-celebrity sometimes, but that's how I felt about Publisher's Weekly editor-in-chief Sara Nelson, who was surprisingly laid off this week. I've met plenty o' famous writers and never been tongue-tied, but when I saw Nelson at a party in New York, I got flummoxed and didn't approach her or say anything. It was her. (Silly, I should have piped up, but I had an easier time talking to Erica Jong... life isn't logical.)

She wrote a column for every issue of Publisher's Weekly, and while it was mostly a re-cap rather than news, I found it warm and engaging, and I read it every week. She often posed in that familiar wrap dress with the autumn leaves on it (see photo), and her expression was one of serenity and concern. Sara Nelson reminded me of the Washington Post's inimitable Marguerite Kelly, whom we fans probably read less for exactly what she says, than the unique and engaging way she says it.

Given Nelson's considerable experience in the publishing industry, I hope she writes a book about the bloodbath from her perspective without the muzzle of being a spokesperson for an industry journal.

And boo to the short-sighted pooh-bahs who laid her off. Way to demoralize an industry, folks.

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