The Paris Review Takes Its Young Literati Seriously

Last evening, the cozy Tribeca offices of The Paris Review were packed in celebration of the magazine’s Fall issue, which features a photo dossier of the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and an interview with the Israeli author David Grossman, who is working on his first novel in several years. New Yorker fact-checker Jonathan Shainin, who conducted the interview in and around Grossman’s home outside Jerusalem, told Media Mob that he interviewed Grossman over the course of several days, resulting in around nine hours of tape. "Mercifully, Paris Review interns typed it," Mr. Shainin said. "It was a 50,000 word transcript! I definitely had my favorite bits that didn’t make it in to the final version," which is around 11,000 words. Well, novelists are wordy!

Paris Review has a long tradition of throwing open its office parties to the greater literary community of New York, a tradition begun by the magazine’s late founder George Plimpton, when the magazine was based in his Upper East Side townhouse. When the current editor-in-chief, New Yorker staff writer Philip Gourevitch, moved the magazine downtown after becoming editor in 2005, the tradition of the parties continued. And thus, at times it seemed that every editorial assistant in town (or at least, those at the better publishing houses) was there, swilling from the open bar and dipping their hands into the potato chips.

At the other end of the room, Rob Dennis stood awkwardly by the grapes. One of his poems, Unrequited II, about a crush he had while an undergraduate at Harvard, was published in the new issue. Mr. Dennis, who is 27, works for a hedge fund as the head of technology recruiting when he’s not penning verse. He told us that he had submitted the poem, and then "promptly forgot" about it.

"I heard from them six or eight months later," he said. "They asked if the poem was still available. I said it was totally available! It was really exciting."

In the middle of the room, a knot of partygoers—David Shoemaker, an editor at the Overlook Press; Sarah Fan, an editor at the New Press; Mel Flashman, an agent at Trident; and Ms. Flashman’s client, Megan Husted, whose book, How to be Useful: A Beginner’s Guide to the Meritocracy, comes out in May—chatted. Over there was the author Uzodinma Iweala, whose work has been published in the magazine; the writer Katie Roiphe–who wrote about her divorce in New York magazine and the marriages of aristocratic British writers in her latest book–was deep in conversation with another writer, as was Mr. Gourevitch’s wife, the New Yorker writer Larissa MacFarquhar. Someone said they’d seen Salman Rushdie. Simon Rich, the young writer whose first book, Ant Farm, came out before he graduated from Harvard last spring, roamed the crowd. His brother, Nathaniel, is a senior editor at the magazine; you might also know his father, Frank.

Soon the sponsored whiskey was nearly gone and the young ladies in high heels and shiny dresses ("There are a lot of girls here who are dressed up," someone murmured) were having to lean, ever so slightly, on the young men in sportcoats.