And the 2016 Ellie for General Excellence in Literature, Science and Politics goes to THE OXFORD AMERICAN!

2e6b4_1320267846-oxa_logoOn February 1, at a ceremony in New York City, the Oxford American received some very good news: They won the 2016 Ellie – National Magazine Award in General Excellence! 

The OA was recognized in the Literature, Science and Politics category.  The other nominees were Aperture; Foreign Affairs; Nautilus; Poetery; and Virginia Quarterly Review.
Honors smaller-circulation general-interest magazines as well as publications covering the arts.

 

This is the Oxford American’s thirteenth National Magazine Award nomination since the magazine’s founding in 1992, and their first for General Excellence since 1999.  The award recognized both the efforts of former editor Roger Hodge and current editor Eliza Borné and the OA staff.
The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the awards.
Other winners of the evening were:

General Excellence

  • News, Sports and Entertainment – New York
  • Service and Lifestyle – Lucky Peach
  • Special Interest – The Hollywood Reporter

Design – Wired
Photography – The California Sunday Magazine
Single-Topic Issue – Bloomberg Businessweek for “Code: An Essay,” June 15-28
Website – New York
Multimedia – New York for “This Is the Story of One Block in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn,”
Video – Vice News for “Selfie Soldiers: Russia’s Army Checks In to Ukraine
Public Interest – BuzzFeed News for “The New American Slavery,” and “All You Americans Are Fired,” by Jessica Garrison, Ken Bensinger and Jeremy Singer-Vine,
Personal Service – FamilyFun for “The Happy Family Playbook,” by Jennifer King Lindley
Leisure Interests – Eater for “The Eater Guide to Surviving Disney World
Magazine Section – New York for “The Culture Pages”
Reporting – Matter for “My Nurses Are Dead and I Don’t Know If I’m Already Infected,” by Joshua Hammer
Feature Writing – The New Yorker for “The Really Big One,” by Kathryn Schulz
Feature Photography – Politico for “Front Row at the Political Theater,” photographs by Mark Peterson
Essays and Criticism – Esquire for “The Friend,” by Matthew Teague
Columns and Commentary – The Intercept for three “The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Prison” columns by Barrett Brown: “Stop Sending Me Jonathan Franzen Novels,” “A Visit to the Sweat Lodge,” and “Santa Muerte, Full of Grace.”
Fiction – Zoetrope: All-Story for “The Grozny Tourist Bureau,” by Anthony Marra
Magazine of the Year – The Atlantic

The American Society of Magazine Editors is the principal organization for magazine journalists in the United States. The members of ASME include the editorial leaders of most major consumer and business magazines published in print and on digital platforms. Founded in 1963, ASME works to defend the First Amendment, protect editorial independence and support the development of journalism. ASME sponsors the National Magazine Awards in association with the Columbia Journalism School and publishes the ASME Guidelines for Editors and Publishers.

Eliza Borné named new editor of Oxford American

Eliza BorneEliza Borné is the new editor of the Oxford American, succeeding Roger D. Hodge, who left the magazine in June. Borné joined the magazine in 2013 as associate editor and was promoted to managing editor in 2014. Since June 2015, she has served as interim editor.
“This is wonderful news,” said Hodge, who recruited Borné in 2013. “Eliza is a brilliant editor and wonderful person—the Oxford American could not have made a better choice. I look forward to reading her magazine for many years.”
“I am incredibly proud of the work we have done under Roger’s leadership for the past three years,” said Borné. “We have published great stories that transcend genre and give our readers new perspectives on the South. With every issue, I am astounded again by the brilliance of our amazing writers, artists, and contributors. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead our talented editorial staff as we continue creating this vital and spirited magazine that I have loved since I was a teenager.”
Under Borné’s direction, the OA has maintained its high standard of excellence, publishing work as rich and varied as a 12-page poem by Nikky Finney; fiction by Catherine Lacey and Jamie Quatro; and a deep profile of a transgender drug counselor from the U.S.-Mexico border. Since 2013, she has worked with such acclaimed writers as Lauren Groff, Harrison Scott Key, Beth Ann Fennelly, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Sarah Menkedick, and many others. Pieces Borné edited have been recognized in Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing.
“Eliza is a member of the next generation of readers,” said Vincent LoVoi, OA board member and publisher of This Land Press. “Her keen insights and long-view will enable the OA to continue to grow in the new media environment. She has a timeless talent that will serve us well.”
Borné is the third editor of the Oxford American. Hodge led the magazine from September 2012 through June 2015, when he became the national editor of the Intercept. Hodge remains on the masthead as editor-at-large. Marc Smirnoff founded the Oxford American in 1992.
A native of Little Rock, Borné, 29, previously worked as an editor at BookPage, a book review publication based in Nashville. She graduated from Wellesley College and she lives in Little Rock with her husband, John C. Williams, an assistant federal public defender (whom she met when they were both Oxford American interns in 2006).
The Oxford American also welcomes longtime contributor Jay Jennings to the masthead as senior editor. Jennings brings decades of industry experience as a former editor with Sports Illustrated, Time Out New York, Artforum, and other magazines. He is the author of Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City and he edited Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany.

The Music of Texas will be focus of 2014 Oxford American Music Issue

oa texasRecently, Academy Award-winner Matthew McConaughey, Oxford American editor Roger D. Hodge, and the Texas Music Office will announce that the state of Texas will be the focus of the OA‘s 16th annual music issue. The announcement is at 4 PM at Austin’s iconic Continental Club.

“The Oxford American is thrilled to showcase the music of Texas, home of many of the world’s most influential artists and recordings,” says Rick Clark, the OA‘s music editor. “In addition to delving into the state’s noteworthy historic recordings and figures, we will put emphasis on Texas’s current vibrant, creative artistic culture.”

The issue will be published and available on newsstands nationwide in December 2014. It will be packaged with a compilation CD dedicated to the music of Texas. The magazine will include a special editorial section comprised of essays and features about the artists and songs on the CD.

“The Texas Music Office in the Governor’s Office is working closely with the Oxford American to help produce the Music of Texas issue,” says Casey Monahan, Director of the Texas Music Office. “We’re looking forward to this exciting and high visibility edition.”

The Oxford American‘s annual Southern Music Issue has won two National Magazine Awards and other high honors since it was first introduced in 1996. It is considered by many readers and listeners to be among the best music packages in the country. In 2012, Dwight Garner of the New York Times wrote, “The Oxford American may be the liveliest literary magazine in America….The CDs are so smart and eclectic they probably belong in the Smithsonian.”

Over the years, NPR has featured many of the OA‘s music issues on its broadcasts. Over the past twenty years, the Southern music issue has showcased an incredible range of talents spanning many genres and decades, including R.E.M., Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Isaac Hayes, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, and more. Music-writing legends-such as Greil Marcus, William Gay, Stanley Crouch, Peter Guralnick, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and Rosanne Cash-have contributed memorable writing to the issues. Past OA music issues have featured the states of Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and, last year, Tennessee.

Arkansas Literary Festival This Weekend!

litfestlogoThe Arkansas Literary Festival, the premier gathering of readers and writers in Arkansas, has expanded to include over 90 authors in many locations on both sides of the river from April 18-21, 2013.

The Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library campus, other venues in the River Markets and Argenta Arts districts are the sites for a stimulating mix of sessions, panels, special events, performances, workshops, presentations, opportunities to meet the authors, book sales, and book signings. Most events are free and open to the public.

Festival authors include:

Salma Abdelnour, David Abrams, Mary Stewart Atwell, Beth Ayer, Jenni B. Baker, Jan Barry, Carolyn Briggs, Kevin Brockmeier, Sam Calvin Brown, Oliver Burkeman, Mary Bucci Bush, Drew Cameron, Raquel Cepeda, Da Chen, Joseph Crespino, James Daily, Lela Davidson, Edmond Davis, Sylvia Day, James W. Erwin, Richard Ford, Ben Fountain, Tim Gallagher, Tim Gallagher, Paula J. Giddings, Kay Collett Goss, Jessica B. Harris, Ruth Hawkins, Roger D. Hodge, Ty Jaeger, Jay Jennings, Ben Katchor, Janis F. Kearney, Jeannette Keith, Brian and Terri Kinder, Steve Kistulentz, Christi Shannon Kline, Jon Krampner, Travis Langley, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Dorothy R. Leavell, Domingo Martinez, Ayana Mathis, Carla Killough McClafferty, Rosetta Miller-Perry, Lydia Millet, Pat Mora, Linda Murphy, Sara Nesson, Cynthia LeJeune Nobles, Harry Ostrer, Darcy Pattison, Lori Perkins, Leonard Pitts Jr., Garry Craig Powell, Padgett Powell, Joe Queenan, Karen Russell, Eric Rutkow, Courtney Miller Santo, Rosie Schaap, Martha Silano, Heather Sutherlin, Steve Teske, Chuck Thompson, Charles Todd, Caroline Todd, Duncan Tonatiuh, GB Tran, Dennis Vannatta, Frank X Walker, John Corey Whaley, Steve Wiegenstein, David Wesley Williams, Johnathon Williams, Rita Williams-Garcia, Christian Wiman, Jan Wolfe, Ron Wolfe, C.D. Wright, Steve Yates

This year’s Festival authors have won an impressive number and variety of distinguished awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Pulitzer Prize for Journalism, James Beard Foundation Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Newbery Honor, National Book Critics Circle Award, a Coretta Scott King Honor, PEN/O.Henry Prize; Pushcart Prize; Barnes and Noble Discover Prize for Fiction, Roger Ebert’s Film Festival Thumbs Up Award, Pure Belpré Award, International Griffin Prize for Poetry, International Documentary Association Best Documentary Short, Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, and several National Book Award Finalists. Many of the presenters’ works have been translated into multiple languages and made into films.

Special events for adults during the Festival include a cocktail reception with the authors, food, wine, and spirits workshops, films, a play, and Spoken Word LIVE!, a city-wide poetry competition. Panels and workshops will feature topics such as fiction, memoir, screenwriting, super hero psychology & law, Warrior Writers Project, erotica, and more.

Children’s special events include a storytime on the lawn of the Governor’s Mansion, a book fiesta, the artmobile, plays, outdoor activities, and Super Hero Activity Afternoon. Festival sessions for children will take place at both the new Children’s Library, 4800 10th Street, and the Youth Services Department at the Main Library, 100 Rock Street.

At Level 4, the Main Library’s teen center, teens can meet authors and illustrators, participate in ComiCALS, activities and panels such as a cosplay contest, video game tournament, a writing workshop, and zombie survival activities.

Through the Writers In The Schools (WITS) initiative, the Festival will provide presentations by several authors for Pulaski county elementary, middle, and senior high schools and area colleges.

Support for the Literary Festival is provided by sponsors including Central Arkansas Library System; Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL); Department of Arkansas Heritage; Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau; Fred K. Darragh Jr. Foundation; Arkansas Democrat Gazette; Mosaic Templars Cultural Center; Regions; ProSmartPrinting; MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History; Historic Arkansas Museum; Clinton Presidential Center; Hendrix-Murphy Foundation; Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP, Arkansas Times; Christ Church, Little Rock’s Downtown Episcopal Church; Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center; Arkansas Library Association; Henderson State University; University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service; Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre; Arkansas Governor’s Mansion; Hendrix College Creative Writing and the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature & Language; Hendrix College Project Pericles Program; Hendrix College; University of Arkansas at Little Rock, English Department; University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Department of Rhetoric and Writing; Pulaski Technical College; Jewish Federation of Arkansas; Arkansas Arts Center; Power 92 Jams; Central High School National Historic Site; National Park Service; Literacy Action of Central Arkansas; Capital Hotel; Little Rock Film Festival; and LuLav. The Arkansas Literary Festival is supported in part by funds from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Author! Author!, a cocktail reception with the authors, will be Friday, April 19 at 8pm on the fifth floor of the CALS main library building.  Tickets are available at the door.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is a project of the Central Arkansas Library System. The Festival’s mission is to encourage the development of a more literate populace. A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival. Jay Jennings is the 2013 Festival Chair. Other committee chairs include Katherine Whitworth, Talent Committee; Lisa Donovan, Youth Programs; and Amy Bradley-Hole, Moderators.

A Double Dozen of Cultural Milestones of 2012

Happy New Year!  Here are a double dozen of the Culture Vulture’s Cultural Milestones from 2012 (in no definitive order but a rough chronilogical order).

Home1 – The year kicked off with the reopening of the Museum of Discovery. In 2011, the museum was gutted and redone from top to bottom. The result is three new galleries with 85 interactive exhibits as well as a high profile streetfront entrance.  A $9.2 million grant from Donald W. Reynolds Foundation provided the primary underwriting for the renovations, which also brought a subtitling of the museum as the Donald W. Reynolds Science Center.

Hupp

2 – Arkansas Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert M. Hupp received two honors in the first quarter of the year.  In February, he was named Arkansas Business Non-Profit Executive of the Year.  The next month Hupp received the Diamond Award from the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.  Hupp has been at Arkansas Rep since 1999.  He currently serves on the board of the Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for non-profit theatres.

Landesman

3 – Rocco Landesman, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, visited Arkansas in March.   While in Little Rock, he participated in a panel discussion with Bob Hupp of the Arkansas Rep, Warwick Sabin of the Oxford American, Joy Pennington of the Arkansas Arts Council and Beth Wiedower of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Landesman, a Tony winning Broadway producer, was named the 10th chair of the NEA in 2009.   He announced his plans to retire later in the year.

4 – Polk Stanley Wilcox architectural firm was awarded the American Architecture Award for its design of the Heifer International Murphy Keller Education Center in March.  It is the third American Architecture Award the firm has won in the last five years. The firm also won for designing the Acxiom Data Center and the Heifer International Headquarters, also in Little Rock. Heifer broke ground in the $7.5 million Keller Education Center in 2007. The building provides a place for visitors, staff, volunteers and the international development community to come together to learn about world hunger and poverty and current solutions to these problems.

Kaiser

5 – Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, presided over the 2012 Arkansas Arts Summit in April at the Clinton Presidential Center.  The programmatic arm of the conference was developed and presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center, and provided practical training for board members and arts administrators. The event was sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council.  Little Rock designer and business owner Kaki Hockersmith, who serves on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the the Kennedy Center, was instrumental in organizing the event.

Rockefeller

6 – May 1 marked the 100th birthday of former Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller.  In addition to being a political leader, he was a cultural and philanthropic leader.  Perhaps his most obvious impact was helping to transform the provincial Little Rock Museum of Fine Arts into the first rate Arkansas Arts Center.  He and his family were generous donors of money and art to this effort.  Through the effort of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, many cultural institutions have received funds for programming which has reached into every county and every corner of this state.  For instance, one of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s string quartets is the Rockefeller Quartet.

Sabin

7 – Later in May, Oxford American publisher Warwick Sabin won a primary for the Democratic nomination for District 33 of the Arkansas House of Representatives. He was unopposed in the November election and will take office in January 2013.

8 – As May ended, Riverfest turned 35.  Among the headliners were Boyz II Men, Lynard Skynard, Staind, Third Eye Blind, Joe Walsh, Snoop Dogg, Rodney Block, and Trout Fishing in America.  Since beginning, Riverfest has contributed over $1 million to promote and upgrade parks in Central Arkansas.  Approximately 250,000 festival-goers attended the 2012 event, with an estimated economic impact of $33 million on the community.

oxfordamerican9 – In June, the Oxford American received a $290,000 ArtPlace Grant for its “South on Main” Project.  The space will include a restaurant that will celebrate Southern culinary culture. Accompanying the food will be nightly cultural programming that will feature the best of Southern arts and culture across a variety of formats including literature, music, film, art and drama. The Oxford American will focus on community-oriented programming developed through partnerships with local organizations and institutions.  It is slated to open in the first quarter of 2013.

Selz

10 – Also in June, Nan Selz, who has led the Museum of Discovery since 2004 and revitalized the once-struggling museum announced her intention to retire at the end of 2012.  Since joining the Museum in February 2004, Selz used her leadership to ensure that the Museum has become central Arkansas’s premier math, science and technology center. She has nearly 50 years executive, development and teaching experience having worked in corporate, non-profit and education sectors.  In December, Kelley Bass was named to succeed Selz.

11 – Ann Richards’ Texas a documentary about the colorful former Governor of Texas won the WGA Documentary Screenplay Award at the AFI SilverDocs festival in June.  The brainchild of Keith Patterson and Arkansans Jack Lofton, Susan Altrui, Eric Wilson and Dr. Jordan Cooper, the documentary received a screening at the Paley Center in New York City in October.

12 – The Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost was officially dedicated at the Little Rock Zoo in July. Mayor Mark Stodola and City Manager Bruce Moore were in attendance for the opening remarks and ribbon cutting ceremony. Zoo Director Mike Blakely introduced special guest, Anne Schmidt-Kuentzel, research geneticist and assistant director for animal health and research at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a world-wide non profit dedicated to saving the wild cheetah and its habitat. She thanked the zoo for supporting the cheetahs.  The cheetahs, Zazi and her daughter Maggie, come from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia.

Hodge

13 – Roger D. Hodge, former editor of Harper’s was named as the new editor of the Oxford American magazine.  Mr. Hodge is the author of  The Mendacity of Hope a critique of President Obama published by HarperCollins in 2010, and is currently working on another book focusing on life in the borderlands of West Texas.  A native of Texas, he studied comparative literature at Sewanee in Tennessee, and began his career as a freelance writer in North Carolina.
operainrock14 –  Opera in the Rock launched and hosted its first event – “Opera on the Rocks” out at Wildwood Park for the Arts. Opera in the Rock is focused on returning live opera performances to Little Rock on a regular basis. The company has announced plans for a performance in February at the Clinton Presidential Center.

15 – The Central Arkansas Library System’s Butler Center for Arkansas Studies launched Arkansas Sounds, a music festival, in September.  The festival featured over twenty events (concerts, lectures and other special programs) over an extended weekend.  Focusing on Arkansas music and musicians both past and present, Arkansas Sounds will also work to get musicians and songwriters involved in local schools, create songwriting workshops for kids and adults, and host related performances and events throughout the state. Arkansas Sounds is the second festival sponsored by the Butler Center. They also produce the Arkansas Literary Festival in the spring.

Mann

16 – Philip Mann, music director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, was honored by the Arkansas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators honored Arkansas communicators in October. He received the IABC/Arkansas 2012 Communicator of the Year, honoring Mann for his innovative communication in creating connections between music and audience. Mann is in his third season as director of the symphony, which has seen audience and artistic growth and financial health under his leadership.

17 – Construction began on the new Arcade Building in Little Rock’s River Market district.  This three story building will be home to the Little Rock Film Festival offices as well as additional space for the Central Arkansas Library System and the Clinton School of Public Service.  One major focus of the building will be the 325-seat theatre auditorium for film and lectures.  A restuarant and office space will also be in the building.  The Arcade Building was designed by architect Rick Redden not long before he died earlier in 2012. A statue of Redden will be placed in front of the building.

Brent, Craig Renaud

18 – Also in October, two of the co-founders of the Little Rock Film Festival – Craig and Brent Renaud received an Edward R. Murrow Award for their work in Haiti for the New York Times.  he Renaud Brothers produced a series of reports for the Times beginning days after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, and followed the story of survivors for more than a year.

Cole

19 – Sericia Cole, who had been serving as interim director of Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, was named the permanent director in November.  Before joining the museum, Cole served as director of minority affairs for Gov. Mike Beebe’s office for two years. Prior to that, she was director of public relations at Philander Smith College.  She has extensive experience in public relations and non-profit work. Since joining the museum in March, she has introduced several new programs and secured a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, D.C.

Worthen

20 – In November, Bill Worthen celebrated 40 years as Director of Historic Arkansas Museum.  When he started at the institution, it was known as the Arkansas Territorial Restoration and took up roughly half a city block.  Under his leadership, the museum has expanded into permanent galleries as well as increased its historic structures and demostrations.  HAM now takes up one whole city block and two partial blocks.  He is the longest serving musem director in Little Rock history.

Matthews

21 – Also in November, Cathie Matthews announced her upcoming retirement from the Department of Arkansas Heritage.  She has led that state agency for fifteen years and is the longest-serving director.  A Little Rock native (and daughter of former LR Mayor Pratt C. Remmel), she has led the department through the opening of two new museums, the renovation of two existing museums and the creation of new programs in the other agencies. Matthews oversees the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and Old State House Museum.

Belew

22 – Late in November, Arkansan Cody Belew was eliminated from the TV show “The Voice.”  Born and raised on back country roads, Cody Belew grew up singing in rodeo arenas and gospel church houses. Pulling influence from his southern roots, Cody’s voice is a mix of southern rock, R&B, gospel, soul, and a little mountain twang. He’s been on enough stages, and in front of enough county fair crowds to understand what it takes to entertain an audience.  Before moving to Nashville in 2011, he was a fixture on the Little Rock music scene; he still comes back to perform from time to time. His most recent appearance was at Robinson Center Music Hall last weekend.

Stodola

23 – In December, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola together with the Downtown Little Rock Partnership hosted a meeting to discuss plans for “The Creative Corridor – A Main Stree Revitalization.”  The plan was developed by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center working with Marlon Blackwell Architect for Little Rock.  It was a fulfillment of a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant.

photo (7)24 – Plans for upgrading and renovating Robinson Center Music Hall are moving forward.  Following presentations by four firms in November, the Advertising and Promotion Commission narrowed it down to Ennead Architects of New York, partnered with Polk Stanley Wilcox of Little Rock and Witsell Evans Rasco of Little Rock, partnered with LMN of Seattle.  The concept, which was first unveiled in June, could cost around $65 million.  Presentations by the final two firms will be made in January.  Once completed, the renovated Robinson Center will benefit numerous organizations including the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Arkansas, Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and Celebrity Attractions.  In related performance space news, First Security Bank made a contribution toward the renovation and reconstruction of the amphitheatre in Riverfront Park.