Hanya Yanagihara is the new editor in chief of T: The New York Times Magazine. The position had been vacant since Deborah Needleman left in mid-November after four years at the helm. It is a return to T, the Times’ luxury supplement, for Yanagihara, who was the deputy editor of the title until she left last April. Yanagihara is also the author of two novels, including the much discussed 2015 book “A Little Life.”
“In a search that included meetings with some of the best magazine editors in the country, Hanya stood out for her taste and broad interests. Her T will be worldly, beautiful, stylish and literary. She understands what a style magazine should look like when it bursts from The New York Times,” New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joe Kahn wrote in an internal memo.
“This is my dream job, and I am so excited to be working there again, alongside the smartest, chicest, strangest staff in town. They were one of the major reasons I wanted this job, but here’s another: In this extraordinary cultural moment, I feel strongly that those of us who have been trained to be journalists should be journalists. In T’s case, this means spotlighting the people, places, designs, and art of all mediums and genres that might be seen by some as weird or offputting or unsettling and yet are essential to expanding and challenging our idea of what beauty is,” Yanagihara wrote in an announcement on her Instagram feed. “One of the great threats of this age is provinciality, and from its inception, T has fought against inwardness and the typical by celebrating the outer reaches of what the human imagination can conjure. I am humbled to have the opportunity to continue that tradition, and to succeed my friend and former boss, @deborahneedleman, from whom I learned so much, and in whose footsteps I am proud to follow.”
The lengthy search for Needleman’s replacement has prompted much speculation. Names in the mix were, in addition to Yanagihara, W editor in chief Stefano Tonchi,W deputy editor Armand Limnander and features editor Alix Browne; Jessica Diehl, Vanity Fair’s style director, and former InStyle editor in chief Ariel Foxman. During the past months, there have been a series of departures from the T masthead. Executive editor Whitney Vargas, who had been serving as interim editor in chief and was seen as a leading candidate to replace Needleman, and T articles editor Nick Haramis, who was named editor in chief of Interview, both exited in February.
Earlier this month, T quietly reduced its print frequency from 13 to 11 times a year amid the ongoing struggle to attract luxury ad dollars as many fashion, beauty and luxury advertisers have cut print ad spending across the industry.