Hi, I’m John Swansburg, Slate’s editorial director. I edit a bunch of different Slate features, from Dana Stevens’ movie reviews to Slate’s history blog, “The Vault.” I also run our culture department and oversee our longform projects. The job sadly does not come with a director’s chair, or a director’s megaphone, but I love it nonetheless.
I’ve written about a lot of different things during my six years here, including the best caper movie (Sneakers), the best outerwear company (Patagonia), and the best way to describe a Neapolitan Mastiff. I’m married to a very talented artist and illustrator, and we once collaborated on a project about the strange island nation of Malta. In 2008, I railed against the birthday dinner, and haven’t been invited to one since. I also write occasionally for New York Magazine, where I’ve covered the comic stylings of Brian Williams and the very spicy food of Danny Bowien.
My most recent project is a longform essay about Lew Wallace, a disgraced Civil War general who went on to write one of the most popular and influential novels in American history: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Wallace was at the center of nearly all the major events of his era, from the Lincoln assassination to the arrest of Billy the Kid, and though his name isn’t well remembered today, the story of Ben-Hur has never disappeared from the American cultural landscape. MGM just bought a script for a remake.
Join me on Wednesday, March 27 at 1 p.m. on Reddit, where I’ll be happy to answer whatever questions you have about Slate, birthday dinner ordering technique, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh, Gilded Age literary tastes, or anything else on your mind.