Steve Wasserman Portrait
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2005.

Steve Wasserman [ USA ]

Steve Wasserman , literary editor of the »Los Angeles Times« from 1996 to 2005, is currently managing director of the New York office of Kneerim & Williams, a literary agency. While at the »Los Angeles Times«, Wasserman brought its weekly book review supplement to new heights of distinction and excellence. Jacques Barzun, one of America's most admired intellectuals, said that it had become the country's »best weekly book review in all respects – choice of books and reviewers, quality of writing, length and aptness of substance.« Against the prevailing trend of shorter, faster, and dumber reviews, Wasserman committed himself to longer, more complex texts. »One of the great scandals of American journalism«, Wasserman said, »is the sad fact that too few newspapers regard the publication of book reviews as news that they feel obligated to bring before readers. Instead, adding insult to injury, such reviews where they do appear are too often written in baby talk.« Wasserman also has been a principal architect of the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which just celebrated its tenth anniversary. That event, which features more than 340 authors in readings, panels, and debates, regularly attracts 140,000 people from all over Southern California. Wasserman is a co-founder and co-director of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at the University of Southern California, where he has also taught advanced Nonfiction Writing. In 2002, Wasserman chaired the nominating jury for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction; in 2004, he was a member of the nominating jury for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Wasserman is a past editorial director of several publishing houses, including »Times Books« when it was a division of »Random House« and »Hill & Wang«, a division of »Farrar, Straus & Giroux«.

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