Friday, 11 May 2007

Champions of LWOT: Veronique LeBlanc

Veronique LeBlanc
Managing Editor, 1947 – 1948

Veronique LeBlanc was the first woman to be appointed Managing Editor of a major Canadian publication. Though her tenure at LWOT Magazine was brief, lasting less than six months, she ushered in a new era for the notoriously misogynistic fiction journal.

Born in Shediac, NB, LeBlanc attended nearby Mount Allison University, where she was a student of founding editor George Ross. Under his tutelage, she published, to much acclaim, the gender-bending mystery tale “A Murderess Unchained!” (LWOT Vol. 34, Issue 11).

A staunch advocate for women's literature, LeBlanc was known for fearless confrontation of what she described as “the oppressive hammer-fist of ignorance.” During her time as associate editor, she butted heads with editorial board on more than one occasion, most famously in support of Vera Potemkin’s prose-poetry, which many traditionalist considered to be “lacking in falsehoods.”

In 1947, she was unanimously chosen to replace longtime editor Darren O'Groussny. However, the first issue published with Leblanc at the helm contained only a single piece written by a woman. Joshua Fell was the heartbreaking tale of a young boy stricken by osteogenesis imperfecta who decides, despite his debilitating disease, to join the local hockey team.

Decades later, Genny Radro-Russo, the story's female writer, was revealed to be LeBlanc’s predecessor, O’Groussny, writing under a pseudonym. In a letter to longtime friend, American writer John Cheever, O’Groussny stated: “It pained me to see her struggling so valiantly to make things work...what she needed was a nudge in the right direction, and that’s what I gave her.”

LeBlanc would publish only one more issue before she resigned in early 1948, citing her desire to start a family, which, she wrote, was “an ironical twist of fate, to be shackled by such a common conception.”

Despite her short reign, LeBlanc, as both a woman and a francophone, was a pioneer in the world of Canadian publishing.

No comments: