English Department’s undergrad journal, R2: The Rice Review, receives top national honors

The spring semester has ended with big news for the School of Humanities’ Department of English. The department’s undergraduate creative writing journal, R2: The Rice Review, received the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ 2015 National Program Directors’ Prize for best undergraduate literary magazine in the category of content for its 2014 issue. The association, which goes by AWP, is considered the creative writing equivalent of the Modern Language Association.

“Amongst the many commendable undergraduate literary magazines entered this year, the clear winner is Rice University’s R2: The Rice Review,” said David Jauss, the content category’s final judge and an author and faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. “It features a wide range of consistently outstanding poetry, fiction, nonfiction and visual art, plus thoughtful, incisive interviews with poet Ange Mlinko, filmmaker and novelist Miguel Coyula and novelists (Rice Associate Professor of English) Amber Dermont and Percival Everett.”

The cover of R2: The Rice Review's award-winning 2014 issue depicted a group of zebras in the snow.

The journal was founded in 2004 by creative writing professor and author Justin Cronin and has been sponsored for the last several years by creative writing lecturer Ian Schimmel. Each year, more than 650 copies of the magazine are made available to Rice students and alumni free of charge. Publication of the nearly 200-page, full-color journal is made possible by an endowment given by Rice alumni Bradley Husick ’86 and Gail Clayton Husick ’86 as well as a gift from Sandy ’86 and David Epstein and family for the five-year period 2009–14.

“It takes the staff an enormous amount of time, thought, debate and candy to make an issue come to life,” Schimmel said. “Our students volunteer many late nights to reading hundreds of submissions, agonizing over layouts and selecting and pairing the pieces of writing and art that have most moved them.”

As the winning magazine, R2 will receive a $1,000 cash award. The winners will be announced in the AWP’s Writer’s Chronicle magazine and acknowledged at AWP’s annual conference and book fair next year.

“If the best of the students represented in this issue live up to their considerable promise — and I’m betting they will — someday they, too, will be the subjects of such interviews,” Jauss concluded in his citation. “Rice University is to be commended for nurturing the talents of its students and for producing a remarkable undergraduate literary journal, one that sets the bar for other journals and sets it high.”

R2’s student staff will celebrate its honor at a prerelease party for its 2015 issue at Rice Coffeehouse at 6 p.m. tonight. The official release of the 2015 issue will take place at R2’s annual “Open Mic Night,” slated for this fall.

To see R2’s 2014 issue online, go to http://r2mag.blogs.rice.edu/files/2011/07/R2_2014_THIS_Pages.pdf.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.