September 11, 2012 During its twenty-year history, the Oxford American has become famous for two things: brilliant writing and recurrent turmoil. Founded by editor Marc Smirnoff in 1992, the literary magazine has always struggled to maintain solvency, shutting down more than once, seemingly for good, only to be revived again months later when Smirnoff somehow managed, against all odds, to secure more funding. After weathering years of fiscal insecurity in Oxford, Mississippi, OA moved to its current quarters at the University of Central Arkansas, in Conway. Since 2004, it has been published by the university as a National Magazine Award-winning quarterly, its financial troubles seemingly resolved.
Finally, nearly two months later, the Oxford American has a new editor: Roger D. Hodge, a graduate of the University of the South and formerly the editor of Harper’s Magazine. Hodge is also the author of The Mendacity of Hope, a critique of Barack Obama’s presidency.
Hodge intends to continue the literary magazine’s emphasis on Southern arts and culture but also plans to include more journalism. “That’s the thing that I love doing,” he told The New York Timesyesterday. “What I can bring to this magazine is experience with long-form pieces, literary journalism that is vital and important to readers.” Any bets on how long it takes Hodge to tap fellow Sewanee grad John Jeremiah Sullivan for an essay?