I’ve enjoyed following all of the coverage of the big wins chalked up by Virginia Quarterly Review (my employer) at Tuesday night’s National Magazine Awards. These are some of the highlights.
The Cinderella story of the evening was The Virginia Quarterly Review, which won both for general excellence and for fiction. Editor Ted Genoways told the crowd of his first trip to New York City, to accept an award for best high-school magazine, during which he and his fellow high schoolers “crammed into Roger Angell’s office at the New Yorker and visited Spy‘s offices in the Puck Building.”
Harper’s, New York magazine and the New Yorker each won two National Magazine Awards, the highest accolade in the magazine industry. Time and Rolling Stone were also two-time winners Tuesday.
But perhaps the biggest coup was scored by the Virginia Quarterly Review, a small-circulation literary journal that also won two awards but was nominated for six, even more than the other top-winning magazines.
In addition to the fiction award, the Virginia Quarterly Review, which is based at the University of Virginia, also won for general excellence in its circulation category of under 100,000.
In their citation, the judges said the magazine “reimagines and re-energizes that old-world form — the literary journal,” even as magazines rush to adapt to the Internet. “VQR sets the bar extremely high — and clears it time and again.”
No magazine dominated the competition at the National Magazine Awards in New York last night, but VQR — the tiny, obscure Virginia Quarterly Review — came pretty close.
Since taking over the magazine three years ago, Genoways has used eye-popping graphics, colorful photographs and comics to enliven a staid literary journal founded in 1925.
And Media Life Magazine:
It’s usually the bigger magazines like The New Yorker or Atlantic Monthly taking home multiple National Magazine Awards. But ever so often a small one pops up with a big night that surprises everyone, and last night that was the Virginia Quarterly Review.
The [Fiction] category was a bit of an upset. The Virginia Quarterly edged the Atlantic, which was nominated for eight total awards, more than any other publication, but won zero.
The magazine, a publication of the University of Virginia, is based in Charlottesville, Va. It was founded in 1925, and since then has published such well-known writers as H.L. Mencken, Thomas Wolfe, Eleanor Roosevelt and Robert Frost.
It carries only about three pages of advertising per issue and maintains a tiny staff that was pretty excited about last month’s nominations.
Here’s hoping that this is the beginning of something big, rather than the something big itself.