Joe Pompeo at Vanity Fair:
Vanity Fair has learned that Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times chief book reviewer and Pulitzer Prize winner, who has been, by a wide margin, the most powerful book critic in the English-speaking world, is stepping down. Her final review, on the debut novel by Nigerian author Ayobami Adebayo, was published on Tuesday.
I'll likely have more thoughts on this at a later date, but here's my first impression: even people who don't typically read book reviews in the New York Times — here, I raise my hand meekly — have to acknowledge that this is a big deal for American literature. Kakutani is the closest thing to a household name that the book reviewing world has. The next person to take her position will enjoy a tremendous opportunity to represent literary criticism to the general public. Hopefully, the next editor will lead book reviewing into the 21st century with creativity and enthusiasm.
UPDATE 10:17 AM: This post has been updated because I believed some idiot on Twitter about Kakutani's replacement. Sorry about that. I'll try not to believe Twitter randos without double-sourcing next time. No replacement for Kakutani has been named, though critic Parul Seghal has been elevated from NYT Book Review senior editor to a critic position at the daily Times.