Have I Got News For You!


Hello! Apologies that I haven’t had time to write to all of my own personal writers about this before the news broke, but that’s the curse of social media . . .

Anyway, I do have news, and it’s very exciting.

I have made the huge decision to retire. [I know – you can’t believe I’m that age. :-)]

Come February next year, I will leave my Fiction Ed’s chair spinning behind me and go off and do new things.

But, very importantly, I want to reassure you:

a) that this is very much my own decision, and

b) that we are already busy with the recruitment process for the perfect candidate to step into my shoes.

The Fiction team will definitely continue as a solid unit of four; it’s simply that they will be lead by a new face.

Your new Fiction Ed will bring a new energy to the role. They’ll have their own ideas of how to keep building on the strengths of the magazine as it sets out to provide another 150 years of quite excellent fiction.

We’ll choose the right person

But we will very carefully choose just the right person, who also has a perfect understanding of the magazine as it is today, and where it’s come from over the past 150 years.

I have only ever been a temporary guardian of the fiction that provides the beating heart of the “Friend”. And I’ve loved bearing that responsibility.

But I’ve had 40+ years of working in magazines. It’s a very deadline-heavy, timetabled life, and now I really want to try something different.

For example, I want to experience the novelty of having only one Christmas, instead of three per year — two of them in July and October as our Christmas issues go to press!

In work terms, I’m already thinking of Spring next year. And I’ve just finalised the stories for our Annual 2021. You see how time is racing away from me?

I want to slow time down a bit, and it’ll start in February.

So that’s my news.

But I’ll be giving great thought over the next few weeks as to who “gets” my writers, matching you with just the right fiction team person. I don’t want any of you to worry.

I’ll keep you all posted!

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.