SABF Literary Director Named Kirkus Editor In Chief

  • November 4, 2013
SABF Literary Director Named Kirkus Editor In Chief - San Antonio Book Festival

AUSTIN, TX, November 4, 2013 — Today, Kirkus Media announced the appointment of Claiborne Smith as editor in chief. The position was newly created in response to Kirkus’ recent, aggressive content expansion. Since its acquisition by Herb Simon and Marc Winkelman in 2010, Kirkus has increased the number of book reviews it has published by 77 percent while simultaneously growing its feature coverage more than 350 percent.

“Editorial leadership is vital to our continued growth,” said Meg LaBorde Kuehn, Kirkus’ chief operating officer. “Clay Smith has the passion and experience needed to drive development of the thoughtful content Kirkus is known for providing.”

A recognized book journalist since 1998, Smith’s most recent position with Kirkus Media was features editor. (He will continue to fulfill his duties as features editor.) Prior to joining Kirkus Media in November 2012, he was the literary director of the Texas Book Festival, where he was widely credited for growing the scope, national extent and reputation of the Festival.Smith began his career in journalism at the Austin Chronicle, where he rose to become a senior editor covering books. He is a graduate of the Cultural Reporting and Criticism graduate program at New York University.

“At a time when the publishing industry is making big and small leaps to adapt to many changes, it’s exciting to lead a growing magazine that has been at the heart of publishing since 1933,” Smith said. “Kirkus is an organization driven by integrity and a sincere love of books, and I can think of no greater honor than leading this dynamic team of editors and writers.”

The magazine editorial staff, including Elaine Szewczyk, Eric Liebetrau, Vicky Smith and Chelsea Langford, will now report to Clay Smith, who reports to Kuehn. Smith will continue to oversee a group of writers reporting and blogging on topics vital to both the consumers and the publishing community Kirkus serves. Reviewers will continue to report to the section editors.

About Kirkus Media LLC

Founded in 1933, Kirkus has been an authoritative voice in book discovery for 80 years. Kirkus Reviews magazine gives industry professionals a sneak peek at the most notable books being published weeks before they’re released. When the books become available for purchase, Kirkus serves the reviews to consumers in a weekly email newsletter and on, giving readers unbiased, critical recommendations they can trust.

Kirkus also has a full suite of professional services, including Kirkus Indie, a review service for self-publishers; Kirkus Editorial, book editing services for publishers as well as unpublished and self-published authors; and Kirkus Marketing, services that help authors get discovered by consumers as well as industry influencers, such as publishers, agents and film executives. For more information, visit

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