- Editor's Note
This issue marks a significant change in the editorial staff for Biography. Miriam Fuchs has resigned as co-editor, and John Zuern has agreed to replace her.
When I joined Biography as a co-editor in 2007, Miriam Fuchs had been part of the staff for thirteen years: as literary editor beginning in 1994, as associate editor from 2000 to 2003, and as co-editor ever since. Part of the attraction of co-editing Biography was the opportunity to work with Miriam. I knew her as a respected expert in the field—among many other life writing publications, she is the author of The Text Is Myself: Women's Life Writing and Catastrophe and co-editor with Craig Howes of Teaching Life Writing Texts. I also benefitted from her discerning editorial eye and her smart and supportive advice when Laura Lyons and I guest-edited a special issue of Biography on the testimonial uses of life writing in 2004. So, I came on board expecting to learn a lot from Miriam about the editorial process, and about life writing. My experience has exceeded those expectations.
As a mentor, Miriam has been an inspiration. Miriam has an impatience for ineptitude, but an incredible patience and generosity when it comes to evaluating journal submissions. Miriam approached every essay with rigor— even those that didn't fit the journal's parameters. Miriam's responses repeatedly extended beyond what the job of co-editor demands; she acted with a deep collegiality that is quintessentially Miriam. Through her largely invisible labor and many acts of professional mentorship, Miriam offered contributors tough criticism and precise praise. Her formidable intellect is always accompanied by common sense, imagination, and a quirky sense of humor.
I have also worked with Miriam—and with co-editor Craig Howes and managing editor Stan Schab—on article clusters and special issues, including one on "Translating Lives" that Miriam and I co-edited. Miriam's capacity for engaging appreciatively with a range of work, combined with her expansive knowledge of life writing and of what Biography has or has not already [End Page iii] published, have contributed significantly to the journal's success in mapping new directions in the field. I have come to admire deeply Miriam's ability to devote her intelligence to the big picture, and to each and every essay.
Sorely missed as Miriam already is, I am delighted to welcome John Zuern as a co-editor who will bring new areas of expertise and energy to the journal. John came immediately to mind as the next co-editor because of his contributions to life writing as a literary critic and editor, and because he was already one of our most versatile and valued manuscript evaluators. John's areas of interest include electronic literature, psychoanalysis, ethics, materialist semiotics, media studies, graphic design theory, conversion narratives, and ethical inquiry. Because of this, his feedback on essays has been consistently smart, insightful, constructive, and detailed. John was also guest-editor for one of Biography's most cited special issues, the 2003 "Online Lives." In short, John has been making enormous contributions to the journal and to life writing for many years, and we are lucky indeed to have him as a co-editor.
Miriam's presence will continue to enrich Biography, not only because we will still rely upon her as an expert advisor and reader, but also because of the standards of excellence, professionalism and care that she set for the journal's everyday operations. And of course she has become, and will continue to be, a cherished part of our lives outside of the journal. I hope, and fully expect, that she will be there beside me to not sing at IABA conference dinners yet to come. [End Page iv]