Our Mission and Story

OA01

“Perhaps the liveliest literary magazine in America.” 
—The New York Times

“The magazine’s writers share a passion for music, a respect for ideas, and a flair for writing.”
—The BBC

“A sort of Southern version of The New Yorker.”
—USA Today

“The Oxford American is a thriving example of a modern literary magazine—eager to experiment, yet firmly in control of its editorial voice; alive to history but bracingly contemporary.”
—2016 National Magazine Award citation

 

The Oxford American is a nonprofit, quarterly literary magazine dedicated to featuring the best in Southern writing while documenting the complexity and vitality of the American South.

The magazine was founded in 1992 in Oxford, Mississippi, by Marc Smirnoff and is known for featuring original work by such literary powerhouses as ZZ Packer, Charles Portis, Kiese Laymon, Rebecca Wells, Nikky Finney, Allan Gurganus, Ernest Gaines, C. E. Morgan, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Jesmyn Ward, and many others, while also routinely publishing emerging writers. The OA is likewise known for publishing a wide range of fine art and photography in every issue, including works from Thornton Dial Sr., Jungjin Lee, Eudora Welty, Sally Mann, Gordon Parks, Carroll Cloar, Roger May, Christopher Rodriguez, Eleanor Davis, and William Eggleston.

Since 1997, the Oxford American has published its annual Southern Music Issue, for which we have received wide praise—from the Seattle Weekly to Salon to Tom Petty. We believe American culture is profoundly influenced by Southern music, and each music issue includes not only what the Houston Chronicle calls “the single best music-related magazine of any given year,” but our sought-after CD, curated by the editors to showcase the region’s hugely varied musical legacy.

The OA relocated to Arkansas in the early 2000s and, under the auspices of a newly formed nonprofit organization, the Oxford American affiliated itself with the University of Central Arkansas. In addition to publishing the magazine, the Oxford American explores Southern culture through experiences like panels, readings, films, and concerts. We also offer a robust internship program, offering students and post-graduates unique opportunities to engage with all aspects of publishing an ambitious, national magazine.

Roger D. Hodge became the second editor of the magazine in September 2012. In October 2015, Eliza Borné was announced as the third editor.

The journalism and literature published in the Oxford American has received numerous prizes, including The O. Henry Prize and The Pushcart Prize, and has been featured in The Best American Essays, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and The Best American Travel Writing. Over its quarter century, the Oxford American has won four National Magazine Awards—including an award for General Excellence in 2016. 


Stay in touch with the Oxford American.