Editors on Reviewing: The Walrus

Editor and Co-Publisher: John Macfarlane

Senior Editor: Rachel Giese

Pay: Approximately $1 a word for short reviews; $1500 to $2000 for longer reviews or essays about books

Approach to reviewing, as per Rachel Giese, Senior Editor:

I handle the majority of the book coverage/reviewing at The Walrus, though it isn’t handled exclusively by me. What I’ve detailed below describes my process and my thoughts on the issue; there is no official Walrus process or protocol regarding book reviews.

When deciding which books to review, I consider both The Walrus’s mandate (addressing issues, ideas, and subjects important to Canadians) and purview (we only review books by Canadians, except on rare occasions) and mix (fiction and non-fiction, a variety of genres, a mix of big and small publishers, and so on). I also think about mix in terms of the gender, ethnicity, locale, and prominence of the authors. I don’t have a quota or a figure in mind as I do this; rather, as I consider each book’s merits as a potential review subject, I think about how it would fit into the bigger mix.

When deciding on reviewers, there are a number of factors that I take into account: the reviewer’s availability, expertise, and talents, alongside their fit for a particular book and their interest in a particular book. I do consider race and gender—in some cases, some writers, because of their race and/or gender, might be better equipped or better informed to tackle a particular book or subject. That said, I’m uncomfortable with only assigning women’s books to women to review, or only assigning books by gay authors to gay writers, or only assigning books by South Asian authors to South Asian writers and so on.

I am always open to pitches and would love to have myriad and diverse voices covering books in The Walrus. Submissions guidelines can be found here.

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