November 14, 2008
Rust Hills, the celebrated and storied fiction editor of Esquire, in that magazine's last golden era as a publisher of great literary fiction, died in August 2008, at the age of 83.
Rust Hills edited, befriended and brought to American readers a generation's worth of first-rate literary talent. Among the writers Rust Hills edited and encouraged were James Salter, Jim Harrison, Richard Ford, Bruce Jay Friedman, Annie Proulx, Raymond Carver, Thomas McGuane, Jayne Anne Phillips, Francisco Goldman, Robert Stone, Ann Beattie, and Tobias Wolff.
From the 1950's well into the 1990's, Rust Hills' name, his wide literary appreciation, his?at times courtly, remarkably convivial, and decidedly mid-century public self?was not only a significant presence behind American's understanding of what extraordinary fiction looked like; but he was, as well, a generous, loyal, fastidious (and occasionally infuriating) blue-pencil editor, who month-upon-month inspired young story-writers and novelists in the direction of their very best work.
Rust Hills was perhaps one of the last of a great breed of New York fiction editors who once enriched our reading and cultural life.
Join Will Blythe, Byron Dobell, Lee Eisenberg, Richard Ford, Beverly Lowry, Terry McDonell, and James Salter, as they pay tribute to Rust Hills.
photo of Rust Hills by Nancy Crampton
About Will Blythe
Will Blythe is the author of To Hate Like This is to be Happy Forever, and a former colleague of Rust Hills at Esquire.
About Byron Dobell
Byron Dobell was the managing editor of Esquire in the Sixties when Rust Hills was its fiction editor. He was also editorial director of New York magazine, managing editor of Life, and editor of American Heritage. He is now a portraitist.
About Lee Eisenberg
Lee Eisenberg is a former editor-in-chief of Esquire. His most recent book, The Number, a New York Times bestseller, was published in 2006.
About Richard Ford
Richard Ford is the author of six novels and three collections of stories. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Independence Day and the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in short fiction.
About Beverly Lowry
Beverly Lowry is the author of six novels and three nonfiction works, including Crossed Over. She teaches at George Mason University, and credits Rust Hills with her start in publishing.
About Terry McDonell
Terry McDonell worked with Rust Hills at Esquire, where he was editor in chief from 1990 to 1993. He is now Time Inc. Group Editor, overseeing Sports Illustrated and a number of other magazines and websites; and serves as president of the board of the Paris Review.
About James Salter
James Salter is a novelist (A Sport and a Pastime, Light Years) and short story writer (Dusk, Last Night) many of whose stories were published in Esquire when Rust Hills was literary editor. He won the PEN/Faulkner in 1989.