Canadian Magazine Industry News
21 April 2009,     PICTON, ONT.
Outstanding achiever Barbara Moon dies
Respected editor and writer Barbara Moon died in hospital on April 15 near her home in Picton, Ont., after a brief illness. 

The author and editor of 11 books, Moon began her career in magazines at Maclean’s in 1948, working her way up from office assistant to staff writer and editor. She eventually moved onto Saturday Night magazine, where she worked for many years as senior editor, then editor-at-large. She also served as senior editor for the Creative Non-fiction and Cultural Journalism Program at The Banff Centre in Alberta from 1992 to 1998.

Moon’s straight talking, no nonsense style earned her admiration from fellow editors and writers alike and in 1992, she won the prestigious National Magazine Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Writing on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers (TFEW) e-mail listserv, freelancer David Hayes recounted this anecdote:
Back in the mid-‘90s, an attention-seeking geophysicist told me he was part of a team planning to salvage from Lake Ontario one of the unmanned test drones associated with the Avro Arrow, an early experimental Canadian jet that was killed by the Diefenbaker government. He was adept at hype and for a while had me convinced that it would be a great magazine feature for Saturday Night. The proposed salvage operation happened to be not far from Barbara’s place in Picton so I called to tell her about it & asked her if she thought it would make a good Saturday Night story.

“It’s not the Avro Arrow in the lake, David?” she asked, barely concealing her incredulity. “It’s just a model, a toy? That’s no story at all.”
Also writing on TFEW, Eileen Whitfield offered this story:
No one could give as fast and intelligent a "fix" to a long piece as Barbara Moon. I wrote a long AIDS piece for SN in the mid-80s that went through several drafts, each time with a different structure and writing style from me (e.g. restrained versus emotional). But of all the editors, it was Barbara who put her finger on the problem immediately ... opening the article with what once had been the climax, 2/3 of the way through, and adding one sentence of description that softened the reader's attitude toward one character. Also: let Eileen return to her natural tone of writing.

She worked her way up at Maclean's at a time when it was purely a boy's club. I was always sorry that she didn't write a memoir about that.
Writer Moira Farr also had this to say about Ms. Moon:
I met Barbara when I was a participant in the Banff non fiction program back in the early 90s. She had come to my cabin to talk about the story I was working on, and we eventually began discussing the perennial subject of making a living as a freelancer. She exhaled an elegant curl of smoke, levelled me with her direct stare and said, in her droll, gravelly voice: "Have you thought of marrying...?" Of course, the unspoken part of the sentence was "someone with a steady paycheque." I had to tell her that I had already tried marriage- and had the divorce papers to prove it. He was a struggling musician. Now I live with a freelance photographer. Sorry for the wonky M.O., Barbara. She was one of a kind.
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