Six years after being made redundant from Granta magazine, in a period of intense upheaval which also saw the departures of editor Alex Clark and Granta Publications m.d. David Graham, Rosalind Porter has returned as deputy editor.
Porter rejoins the magazine after an 18-month stint as editorial director of fiction at Oneworld.
She began the deputy editor role yesterday (Monday 27th July), working with Granta publisher and editor Sigrid Rausing, although Porter will be taking a period of maternity leave from November.
Rausing told The Bookseller that Porter was "far and away the best candidate" to apply for the deputy editor job, adding of the surprise appointment: "We always got on perfectly well…There's been a lot of change, it was six years ago [that she left], and everyone's moved on."
She rejected the suggestion, made at the time of Porter's departure, that the upheaval at Granta had followed an email rejection of an essay by author Salman Rushdie, saying: "That wasn't part of it at all."
Porter said: "To be honest, the deputy role at Granta is my dream job. I left in slightly complicated circumstances, but there was no bad blood between me and Sigrid. A lot of time has passed, and I thought, why not?" She added: "I started out in book publishing at Random House and came to Granta and loved working at the magazine and with a variety of authors. It's fulfilling to be back with a wide array of authors - you are in a privileged position in that you can work with so many writers, not just those you publish. I didn't work directly with Sigrid before [Porter had been senior editor, working with Clark], so it feels like a new job."
Porter's appointment marks a revival of the deputy editor role at Granta. Following the departure of Alex Clark's successor as editor John Freeman, together with his deputy editor Ellah Allfrey, in 2013, Rausing has handled commissioning, supported instead by a managing editor. Rausing said: "I decided to go back to the structure of having a deputy editor - a much more senior role - and we'll be working together on everything. It's a commissioning role, an editing role, and also involved with events."
Meanwhile another staffer, Luke Neima, has been promoted from editorial assistant to online editor. This follows the departure of Rachel Allen, poetry editor and online editor, to do a PhD. Allen will continue to act as poetry editor but relinquish the online role.
Rausing said Granta subscriptions were now on the rise after a period of stagnation, rising from around 12,000 two years ago to 15,000-plus currently, with "as many copies again" in bookshop sales. "Maybe it has to do with the end of the recession – we're delighted," she said. The forthcoming autumn issue will take as its theme the destruction of rural and urban environments, and will carry pieces by Barry Lopez (on travelling through nature with indigenous guides) and Adam Nicolson (on the violent land disputes which marr Romania's idyllic-looking grass meadowlands).