Jeanne Leiby, the editor of the literary journal The Southern Review died on Tuesday in a single-car crash in Louisiana, reports the LA Times. The Southern Review is one of America’s most respected and longstanding literary magazines, and Leiby, who served as editor for the past three years, has been praised not only for navigating budget challenges at the Review’s home-university of LSA and bringing the magazine into the digital age, but also adding a welcome level of warmth and humanness to hear dealings with writers.
In a blog post on the TSR blog, for instance, she discusses her practice of calling writers whose work she is accepting:
I spend a lot of my life rejecting things—that’s the reality of my job. When I find something that excites me so much I want to put it in print, I’m happy, I’m thrilled. In the moment of the call, the writer likes me and I like her and we celebrate the work. I call because we—all of us at TSR—strive to build long-term relationships with our writers. We want to engage as much as possible in their writing lives because it’s our job.
Leiby was a beloved presence in the literary world and will be much missed. More information is available on the LSU Web site.