Susannah Hunnewell, Publisher of The Paris Review, Dies at 52
“The Paris Review is known for its hysterically extensive masthead,” she said, “and Susannah was the only person in the world who could coax all these founders, editors, associates, readers, contributors and board members not only to get along but to have wild fun together.”
Terry McDonell, a former editor of Esquire and a former president of The Paris Review’s board, called Ms. Hunnewell a protector of the essential DNA of the magazine, which Mr. Plimpton helped start in Paris in 1953 and whose modest circulation had belied its influence in the literary world as a showcase for writers and a discoverer of new talent.
“She just had this wonderful enthusiasm not just for literature, but for the life around it,” Mr. McDonnell said of Ms. Hunnewell. “She represented a really optimistic kind of continuity.”
Susannah Gordon Hunnewell was born in Boston on July 16, 1966. Her father, Francis Oakes Hunnewell, was an international investment banker and an entrepreneur and a descendant of the family on whose land the town of Wellesley, Mass., was founded. He died in 2010. Her mother, Elizabeth Milton Hunnewell, is a freelance writer.
The family moved to Paris shortly after Susannah was born, and she attended the Ecole Active Bilingue, a school that teaches in French and English. The family returned to Wellesley when she was 15, and she attended the Winsor School for young women in Boston and then Harvard, from which she graduated with a degree in English.
As a young editorial assistant at The Paris Review, Ms. Hunnewell read through submissions relegated to the so-called slush pile and edited short stories and articles for print. She was also among the staff members who Mr. Plimpton credited with helping him put together “The Paris Review Anthology” (1990).
It was at The Review that she met Mr. Weiss, who was an editor of the magazine and Mr. Plimpton’s assistant at the time.