By Jon Parrish Peede
May 1st, 2013
We are proud to announce that W. Ralph Eubanks has been selected as editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. He will join our staff on June 3.
Ralph will shape the content for the print and digital magazine, website, and future e-books and will provide creative direction to our organization. He is currently Director of Publishing at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
Ralph is a gifted editor, acclaimed author, and respected publishing industry leader. He is passionate about the craft of writing, whether it is poetry or fiction or reportage or criticism. He has great enthusiasm for new technologies as well as a steadfast commitment to literature and exceptional journalism.
In an age when the media gives too much emphasis to getting the story out first rather than getting it out correctly, Ralph has devoted himself to publishing works of permanence—just as VQR has.
“A fine writer and scholar, Ralph Eubanks is the perfect editor to carry on the tradition of excellence at VQR,” U.S. Poet Laureate and VQR contributing editor Natasha Trethewey said. “I look forward to seeing his vision manifest in its pages.”
At the Library of Congress, Ralph has managed the publication of more than 80 nonfiction books on American history, photography, maps, and film in collaboration with leading trade publishers. Sharing VQR’s commitment to photography and photojournalism, he managed the recent publication of nine Farm Security Administration photography books in the Library’s “Fields of Vision” series with introductions from contemporary authors such as Nicholas Lemann, George Packer, Francine Prose, and Annie Proulx.
“Ralph has a deep understanding of how writers practice their craft,” said William R. Ferris, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. “He also knows how to shape the work of a writer. In his capacity as both an editor and an author, Ralph has witnessed the evolving landscape of book and magazine publishing. In response to those changes, he adopted an agile publishing model for the Library of Congress that changed and evolved with the needs of the market and readers.”
“Ralph Eubanks has a clear sense of what makes VQR a great magazine—and the vision necessary to make it even better. He will also be a superb addition to the University community as a cultural leader,” said Thomas C. Skalak, UVA’s Vice President for Research, whose office oversees VQR.
Ralph said being named editor of VQR is “both an honor and a challenge.”
“It is an honor because of the publication’s storied 88-year history, having published many of my personal literary heroes, like Eudora Welty, John Berryman, and D.H. Lawrence,” he said. “It is a challenge because I will be editing a general-interest magazine in the digital age. The distinct challenge of a general-interest literary publication is to remain ‘general’ while carving out a recognizable niche in the marketplace. I believe that VQR should be a publication that publishes both timeless and contemporary content. The content must be substantive, not trendy, yet it must still reflect the times.”
In addition to his broad experience in the publishing industry, Eubanks is the author of two well-received memoirs, Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past and The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South. Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named Ever Is a Long Time one of the best nonfiction books of 2003. Regarding Eubanks’ second memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford stated that it “enacts the liberating magic of literature: it finds its truth in between conventional wisdom and sociological presumption.”
Eubanks has many ties to the University of Virginia. He served on the advisory board of the Publishing and Communications Program from 1993 to 2002 and taught several courses over eight years as an adjunct faculty member, including an overview of book, journal, and magazine publishing. He served on the program committee for “Exploring the New Media,” a joint Library of Congress/UVA annual conference from 1994 to 2000.
Ralph’s first issue as editor will be the Fall 2013 issue. Fittingly, it will include an extensive interview with the late southern writer Eudora Welty, whose work has meant a great deal to Ralph throughout his career.