Guardian Review bids farewell after nearly 20 years

Guardian Review bids farewell after nearly 20 years

The Guardian Review section, home of its books coverage, has closed a year after a shake-up of the Saturday edition was announced.

In a Twitter thread to its 27,000 followers, the Guardian Review revealed the newspaper’s future plans for literary coverage: “After nearly two decades and close to a thousand issues, tomorrow sees the last Guardian Review. From next week you can find even more agenda-setting literary journalism in the exciting new Saturday magazine where there will be new columns as well as long-standing favourites in the new Books section.” 

The last supplement on Saturday (19th September) included contributions from Alan Johnson and Lauren Groff and an in-depth interview with Colson Whitehead by Sara Collins. 

Several industry figures paid tribute to the broadsheet’s literary coverage. “I remember being a newbie and feeling the immeasurable support of the Review - for the novel, for me as a writer. It made a world of difference,” author Sara Collins tweeted. 

Fellow writer Damian Barr wrote: “Thank you for introducing me to so many new voices. And for giving me and my books a platform.” 

Indie publisher Little Toller tweeted: “When we first started publishing 12 years ago it was the Guardian Review that gave us a platform under the wonderful books editor Paul Laity. I like many others are very sad to see it go.” 

Changes to the Guardian’s books coverage were first announced in July 2020 with 180 roles including 70 editorial jobs earmarked to go. The Guardian will package its Review into a new Saturday magazine as well developing a planned refresh of its online coverage. 

Liese Spencer, joint head of books/editor of Review, told The Bookseller at the time that the paper’s books analysis would not be reduced: “Review is closing later this year, at which point our print coverage will be migrating to the culture section of the new Saturday magazine, where it will get comparable space to what we currently have in Review, if not more.” 

Earlier this year, Sian Cain, formerly editor of the Guardian Books site, moved on to the new magazine’s culture section after six years in the job while deputy head of books Paul Laity left. Lucy Knight was recently recruited as a commissioning editor for books after previously being the Sunday Times’ assistant books editor.