Today@Sam Article

Editor Of The Southern Review To Visit Creative Writing Students

Feb. 27, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Lane Fortenberry

Written By Scott Kaukonen

The Sam Houston State University MFA Program in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing will welcome Emily Nemens, co-editor of the Southern Review, to campus on Thursday (March 2).

At 12:30 p.m. in Evans 212, Nemens will discuss her role as an editor at one of the nation’s most venerable literary journals, and at 5:30 p.m. in Evans 105, she will read from her own creative work.

“Most students have a far better sense of the role of authors in the publishing process, of course, than they do of the role of editors,” said Scott

Emily Nemens

Kaukonen, director of the MFA program. “Editors are those mysterious figures who lurk behind the scenes and whose names you might find in the acknowledgements near the back of a book or atop the masthead on the journal, if you bother to seek them out. But given the role that editors—of presses and journals—serve in identifying new talent and bringing it to the attention of readers everywhere, editors like Nemens play a vital role in shaping contemporary literature.”

Nemens first became involved with the Southern Review when she began the MFA program in creative writing at Louisiana State University in 2011, joining the journal as an editorial assistant. She has been co-editor since 2013.

“She's coming to us from one of most well-regarded, historic literary magazines in the country,” said Nick Lantz, assistant professor of English at SHSU and editor of the Texas Review. “When I cover literary magazine history in my publishing classes at Sam, one point I try to emphasize is how crucial magazines like the Southern Review have been in the development of literature in the United States. A lot of what we collectively think of as great modern literature has been shaped by the judgment and hard work of editors like Nemens, who sift through thousands of submissions every year to find the handful worth publishing. Nemens’s craft talk will give students a rare insider's view of how this crucial component of the publishing world functions.”

The Southern Review was founded in 1935 by Robert Penn Warren and Albert Erskine, and among the writers it has published early in their careers are John Berryman, Eudora Welty, Peter Taylor, Mary McCarthy, Robert Pinsky, and Natasha Tretheway.

“I’m excited to visit Sam Houston, meet with students in the creative writing program, and share my work,” Nemens said. “As an editor, I’m excited to talk to the team at the Texas Review during this time of growth and transition—I hope my experiences at the Southern Review provide some helpful examples for them and other students interested in editorial careers. As a writer, I’ve been working on a book about spring training baseball for the past few years, and I’m excited to read from new work just as the spring season is getting underway.”

Nemens will speak at 12:30 p.m. about the personal journey that has brought her to this point in her career, editorially and creatively. She will also explore the various fields in which editing and creative writing work together. In the evening, she will also read a selection from her creative work. She has two short collections: a novella-length book of stories, Scrub, was published in 2007 in conjunction with her residency at the Kerouac Project of Orlando, and was shortlisted for a 2008 IPPY (short story category). A cross-genre chapbook, Butcher Papers, was published in 2014 by Sibling Rivalry Press.

Olivia Clare, assistant professor in English with the MFA program, said, "We're delighted to have Emily join us for the day. Given her particular background and expertise, I know she'll have invaluable advice for our students."

Both the craft talk and reading are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Kaukonen at 936.294.1407 or

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