We often say the paradox of writing is that it gets done in isolation, yet it takes a community to sustain it. What is implicit in this principle is that we need a multi-faceted community, a generous community, and an all-inclusive community.
Since its inception in 2001, the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte has had a unique chance to create something real and meaningful: a non-hierarchical, non-competitive environment that supports every writer in it and assimilates the understanding that while the larger world of creative writing can seem highly competitive, we can create something outside of that and still reside within it.
There are two principles we believe make our community a community that can work: diversity on every front, and inclusiveness at every turn. This can be a challenge. Everywhere, every day, we fall back upon more reasons to become single-faceted and exclusive. It is purportedly safer, it is more elite, it is more comfortable, it is easier. But the true tasks of the writer are to take as many worthwhile risks as possible and to embrace as much of the world as he or she can hold.
Our wish for the Southern Review of Books is for it to be an extension of what we strive for at Queens, that it will celebrate and honor our love of good writing: art as entertainment, art as distraction, art as persuasion, art as illumination, art as instruction. We really do need all of it. We hope it will serve as an inclusive medium for a conversation that is as open as it is enriching. We hope the Southern Review of Books will not only help sustain this vibrant writing community we are lucky to be a part of, but amplify it.