Sunday, April 19, 2009

Respected magazine editor
Barbara Moon dies

[This post has been updated] Much, doubtless, will be written in recollection in the days to come about Barbara Moon, known to many as one of Canada's most outstanding magazine editors and writers. According to a death notice in the Globe and Mail, she died last Wednesday near her home in retirement, Picton, Ontario, after a brief illness. She is survived by her husband, Wynne Thomas.

Barbara was perhaps best known as the exacting senior editor and editor-at-large at Saturday Night magazine, but she also wrote hundreds of major articles in magazines such as Maclean's and Saturday Night and features in newspapers such as the Globe and Mail as well as being a committed and accomplished television documentarian.

One of the select recipients of the National Magazine Foundation Award for outstanding lifetime achievement, Moon was a senior editor for the creative non-fiction and cultural journalism Program at The Banff Centre From 1992 to 1998.

A native of St. Catharines, she graduated from Trinity College at the University of Toronto and got her start in magazines with Maclean's in 1948, as virtually a go-fer, but was soon sharing its pages with other heavy hitters in the magazine's golden age -- Pierre Berton Robert Fulford, June Callwood, Ken Lefoli, Peter Gzowski and Peter C. Newman. While she was widely respected in the business for her rigorous and demanding standards, Moon never occupied the top job at Saturday Night. any of Canada's magazines. She told an interviewer for the Ryerson Review of Journalism that it was by choice*:
Moon herself was never interested in the editor position at Saturday Night. She has a theory: “There’s a strong or at least arguable possibility that women were too smart to take the top jobs.” Moon goes on to say, “When you get out of the world of editorial, which is rich and fulfilling and different every day and marvellous, and into the world of dealing with the publishers, dealing with marketing, dealing with advertisers—it’s all the grunge part of the job.”
Among the books she wrote and edited were: The Canadian Shield; Why are you telling me this? Eleven Acts of Intimate Journalism (co-editor); To Arrive Where You Are: Literary Journalism from the Banff Centre for the Arts (co-editor); Taking Risks: Literary Journalism from the Edge (co-editor); Illustrated Natural History of Canada, the Canadian Shield;

There will be a private funeral, but a celebration of Ms Moon's life will be held in Picton at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Massey College in aid of the Canadian Journalism Fellowship, 4 Devonshire Pl., Toronto, M5S 2E1.

*In fact, she was for a time the editor of Toronto Calendar magazine.



Anonymous said...

I caught the break of my life when I drew Barbara as the editor of stories I worked on for Saturday Night. She'd always begin with extravagant praise and then methodically disassemble my pieces. When she was done, they'd be scattered across the floor like engine parts. Slowly, by talking me through the argument I was trying to make, we'd restructure them so they had momentum and clarity and verve. I'll always be grateful for the time she spent on my clumsy narratives. My condolences to Wynne.
Rick Boychuk

10:54 am  

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