I started working on Women’s Review of Books in February of 2020. For just one month before the lockdown, Jennifer and I worked several hours a week at her dining room table in Greenwich Village. It was a vertiginous time for me. (Needless to say it was about to become much more so.) I’d been in New York only eighteen months and had no contacts outside of NYU. I was adrift after the sudden end of a long relationship and was trying to make a shift in my career, but in which direction I wasn’t sure. I had a background in academic libraries but no MLS, and after my first master's had become disillusioned with academia. I was of course deeply interested in writing, books, and ideas but had minimal experience in publishing. I felt at that time as if I had no professional home. I’ve heard Jennifer say many times now that, in her view, feminism is basically about inclusion. It’s about saying yes to people, inviting them into the tent under the assumption of shared values. Certainly, that’s what she did for me.
And that’s what we’ve tried to do together these last couple of years, even as the world seemed to deal one disorienting blow after another: invite both new and familiar voices into the discussion of those shared values, from wherever we could think to find them. These voices have uniquely blended academic and popular registers and interests in a way it seems has always made WRB special and exciting. The conversations we were able to have—both in these pages and in the many editorial and pitch emails and phone calls that produced them—in a time of insanity and isolation kept me sane and brought me into the fold of an expanding, intergenerational community of feminist intellectuals. I’ve learned so much in the process, not just about publishing but about also about herstory and about the rich tradition of second-wave periodicals of which this journal persists as a proud legacy. I even got to work with some of the women who helped build that tradition and to learn some of that herstory firsthand. (In a recent Zoom call with contributor Shane Snowden, former editor and publisher of the Boston-based magazine Sojourner, Jennifer and I learned that Shane had in fact mentored WRB’s founding editor, Linda Gardiner, in typesetting. It was a nice full-circle moment!)
I am so grateful for the privilege of getting to work on this review: to Jennifer, to all the contributors whose words and images comprised these issues, to the subscribers, to Ian and Guy and the rest of the Old City Publishing crew, to Wellesley Centers for Women, and to the foremothers who made this enterprise and my participation in it possible. Thank you.
New York City
October 15, 2021