Boris Kachka, formerly books editor at New York magazine, has been named books editor at the Los Angeles Times. He will report to the paper's deputy managing editor Julia Turner, who oversees culture and entertainment business coverage.
"New York magazine and New York City have been my home for decades, and the thought of leaving is daunting. But over the past couple of years I've been watching the L.A. Times with fascination," Kachka said. "Having been a books editor at New York magazine and 'Vulture' for a few years now (and intimately involved in culture coverage for much longer), I was incredibly excited by the opportunity to reinvent books somewhere else. Books coverage at the LA Times has always been robust, under Steve Wasserman, David Ulin, Carolyn Kellogg, and others. But since the paper is rapidly growing after a long period of cutbacks, that gives me the opportunity to grow with it—to make the LAT part of the national books conversation in new ways while maintaining what's always worked well, including the paper's strong connection to local readers."
Kachka was named books editor at New York in 2018, where he was charged with "tripling" books coverage in the print magazine and across its web verticals: 'Vulture,' the 'Cut,' 'Daily Intelligencer,' the 'Strategist,' and 'Grub Street.' He had previously been a contributing editor at the magazine for 14 years. The magazine hired Lila Shapiro as a senior reporter covering books and the publishing industry for 'Vulture' last March, and brought on Molly Young as a literary critic in August, absorbing her Read Like the Wind newsletter in the process.
The Times has been without a full-time books editor since last Christmas, when former books editor Carolyn Kellogg left the paper after three years. Her departure, less than half a year after the paper's ownership changed hands, prompted questions about the future of the magazine's books section, which remains one of the most robust in the U.S. after years of budget slashing in books coverage at most local news outlets and the majority of national newspapers as well.
But investments in the paper by its new owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, have brought growth. Since the purchase, the paper has brought on Time Inc.'s Norman Pearlstine as executive editor, the New York Times's Sewell Chan and BuzzFeed's Shani Hilton as deputy managing editors for news, and Turner, who was formerly editor-in-chief at Slate. Last October, more change came to the Times in the form of a long-awaited labor agreement between management and its newsroom union. And under Kachka, the Times is set to expand its books coverage, positioning it to compete, as the paper aims to as a whole, with its counterpart in New York.
"We’re so delighted Boris is joining to spearhead the expansion of our books coverage," Turner said. "The Los Angeles Times has long been the center of literary coverage in the West, and with new ownership investing in our newsroom, we have the opportunity to invest in books as we haven’t been able to in a long time. Boris has just the right mix of expertise, curiosity and experience to build something ambitious and vital for readers in Los Angeles—and everywhere."