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Shenandoah Wins Governor’s Award for the Arts

Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review has won a prestigious Governor’s Award for the Arts for 2008. Governor Timothy M. Kaine will present it to Shenandoah, which won in the category of arts organizations and artistic directors, and nine other recipients at the state capitol, in Richmond, on Sept. 17. Accepting the prize will be Shenandoah’s editor, R.T. Smith, and its managing editor, Lynn Leech.

Shenandoah, founded in 1950 by Washington and Lee students and faculty members, is an acclaimed tri-annual journal of poetry, short stories, reviews and essays. Recent contributors and subjects include poet Claudia Emerson, novelist Joyce Carol Oates and essayist Wendell Berry. Works from Shenandoah often appear in such anthologies as “Best American Short Stories,” “Best American Poems” and “The Pushcart Prize.”

“This recognition for the magazine is really a tribute to the staff, the student interns, the writers and subscribers who invest their time and energy in the creation and distribution of serious writing,” said Smith, who has edited the publication for the past 13 years. “I hope it will also serve to remind people of Washington and Lee’s ongoing commitment to the fine arts. For the past 58 years, Shenandoah has been one expression of that commitment, and we’re very pleased both to serve this community of dedicated readers and to be cited among this year’s honorees for the Governor’s Award.”

Smith has published 13 collections of poetry, including “The Hollow Log Lounge” and “Trespasser.” In 2002, he received the Library of Virginia’s poetry award for “Messenger.” He has published two collections of stories, “Uke Rivers Delivers” and “Faith.” His work is frequently anthologized in such books as “New Stories from the South: 2008” and appears in periodicals such as Atlantic Monthly and Gettysburg Review. He also teaches literature and writing at Washington and Lee.

Leech, who has served as managing editor for the past 21 years, is a founder of the CLMP Literary Publishers Conference, held annually in conjunction with the Associated Writing Programs Conference.

“Shenandoah is among the premier literary journals in the nation, and we are gratified that the state of Virginia has recognized its excellence,” said Hank Dobin, dean of the College at Washington and Lee. “The university is proud to be affiliated with Shenandoah and to have Rod Smith, the journal’s editor and an acclaimed author of both fiction and poetry, on our staff. My thanks to Rod Smith and Lynn Leech for their fine work and for bringing attention to Shenandoah and W&L at the moment when we are promoting and celebrating the arts.”

Smith said, “George Washington himself wrote in 1798 that ‘to promote Literature in this rising Empire . . . [has] ever been among the warmest wishes of my heart,’ and in accordance with his wishes, the university strives to nourish a lively interest in the creation and enjoyment of literature.”

Other winners this year are individual artist: Ralph Stanley, Clintwood; arts organizations and artistic directors: Bob Brown Puppets, Arlington; Hampton University Museum, Hampton; Ralph Cohen and Jim Warren, Staunton; Richmond Ballet/Stoner Winslett, Richmond; Richmond Jazz Society, Richmond; Theatre IV/Bruce Miller and Phil Whiteway, Richmond; William King Regional Arts Center, Abingdon; and arts patrons: David and Susan Goode, Norfolk.

The Governor’s Awards have been given only three times before, in 1979, 1985 and 2000. The Virginians for the Arts Foundation and the Virginia Commission for the Arts selected the judges, Nancy Bagley Adams, former chair of the Virginia Commission for the Arts; J. Plunky Branch, noted musician, songwriter, music and film producer; L. Preston Bryant Jr., secretary of Natural Resources and former chair of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities; Amy Bridge, director of the Governor’s Mansion; Mary Jones of Abingdon, former board member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and Charlene (Suny) Monk, executive director of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.