John Wilson and Books & Culture

This morning, in the weekly newsletter of Books and Culture, John Wilson announces that the coming November/December issue of the magazine will be its last. I am pretty heartbroken about this, not primarily as a writer (though I expect that I have written for B&C as much as anyone), but rather as a reader.

B&C21

For twenty-one years, Books and Culture has been one of the most consistently interesting magazines in the English-speaking world. I have often been surprised at the number and range of people who agree with me about that. Alex Star, a former editor of the New York Times Magazine and now an editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, once told me that he read every issue in full. Cullen Murphy, former editor of the Atlantic, told me that John Wilson is the best editor in the business.

And yet Christianity Today International, the parent company of B&C, couldn’t make it work; nor did another buyer for the magazine come forth. This is an immensely distressing state of affairs, for anyone who cares about the state of Christian intellectual life, and I hope there will be some thoughtful post-mortems on the whole business. (Though what I really hope is for some deep-pocketed person or organization to decide that raising B&C from the dead is more important than giving money to Donald Trump or the RNC.)

But for now, I just want to thank John Wilson for the consistently superb work he has done on this magazine for twenty-one years. He has recruited first-class writers, paired them with fascinating books, found ways to juxtapose reviews on similar themes — he has done it all. And for me personally, working with John over the years has been enormously rewarding and enjoyable. I am hoping against hope that our working relationship will not end here, though even if it does our friendship will remain strong.

Thank you, John, and may God bless you.

John Wilson