The Oxford American is a national magazine dedicated to featuring the best in Southern writing while documenting the complexity and vitality of the American South.
Billed as “The Southern Magazine of Good Writing,” it began publication in 1992. The magazine has featured the original work of such literary powerhouses as Charles Portis, Roy Blount Jr., Jesmyn Ward, Allan Gurganus, Kevin Brockmeier, Karen Russell, and many others, while also discovering and launching the most promising writers in the region. The magazine has also published previously unseen work by such Southern masters as William Faulkner, Walker Percy, James Agee, Zora Neale Hurston, James Dickey, and Carson McCullers, to name just a handful. In 2007, The New York Times stated that the Oxford American “may be the liveliest literary magazine in America.”
The magazine is also noted for its impressive art and photography and has published exceptional works by Willliam Eggleston, Carroll Cloar, Thornton Dial Sr., Eudora Welty, Lara Tomlin, Wayne White, Robert Gwathmey, Glennray Tutor, and many others.
In addition to its strong literary and visual reputation, for ten years the Oxford American has received wide acclaim for its annual Southern music issue, which includes a CD of songs highlighting a variety of genres and eras. It has showcased both famous and profoundly neglected musicians, everyone from R.E.M. to The Gants, Isaac Hayes to Erma Franklin, Lucinda Williams to Karen Dalton, Carl Perkins to The Armstrong Twins, Willie Nelson to Gary Stewart, Jerry Lee Lewis to Nellie Lutcher, and on and on and on. Stanley Crouch, Peter Guralnick, Steve Martin, Rosanne Cash, and Nick Tosches are among the talents who have contributed writing to our Southern music issues.
In 2008, the University of Arkansas Press released the Oxford American Book of Great Music Writing of which Dolly Parton said, "God bless America and God bless The Oxford American Book of Great Music Writing."
The Oxford American was founded in 1992 by Marc Smirnoff in Oxford, Mississippi. After a year in Little Rock, the quarterly was put under the auspices of a newly formed nonprofit organization called The Oxford American Literary Project and moved to the University of Central Arkansas in 2004, where it became a nonprofit. The Oxford American’s presence on a college campus is rare among publications with a national scope and provides students with unique opportunities to engage with all aspects of producing an ambitious and culturally significant magazine.
In addition to publishing the Oxford American, the Literary Project is dedicated to promoting literacy and exploring Southern culture through various other creative endeavors.