Thursday, June 11, 2009

Support Your Local University (Press)

You may recall that we've discussed comments emanating from the Virginia Quarterly Review blog concerning financial pressure being felt by university presses and literary magazines, including New England Review at Middlebury College and LSU Press and The Southern Review at Louisiana State University. And, of course, they are not alone in feeling this pressure. For readers and writers, the value of these magazines is abundantly clear, and so it falls upon us to make the case. VQR's comments are right on and welcome.

How can the rest of us help? Subscribe to literary magazines. It's easy, it's not terribly expensive, and it is both clear evidence of a magazine's base and also provides much needed income. You can also buy books from university presses, often directly from the press itself.

And here's another way you can provide direct support. If you happen to be connected to a university that has a press or a literary magazine or both, and if you happen to be in a position to make donations to your university, you may be able to earmark those donations so that they benefit the press or magazine. I'm a graduate of Northwestern University which publishes fine literary fiction (and other things) plus TriQuarterly magazine through Northwestern University Press. I was able to designate that a recent contribution should support the press. (Of course, one can always make a contribution directly to the press, but it's a little trickier if you are participating in an annual giving program with the university.) The press was so appreciative that they asked me how I wanted the money used, so I know it's going to a good purpose.


Elizabeth Westmark said...

Good thought on earmarking a contribution. I posted a note to readers today -- many of whom are hopeful but untrained writers (like myself) -- suggesting that they explore the wonderful world of literary magazines and journals. As an inducement to them to peek between the covers, I have posted and will continue to update a list of publications on my bookshelves. If they send me an email telling me which one they would like, I'll send it to them in exchange for getting feedback from them once they have read it. So far, so good. I posted the offer just today and will be sending out 5 packages on Tuesday. I hope it will lead to more subscriptions for this critical segment of the writing world.

Clifford Garstang said...

Elizabeth--what a great and generous idea! Good luck with it, and with your writing projects!