Many literary ventures begin in response to some need, and in doing so, become a vital component in building a literary community. Rivanna Review is just such a venture. Founder and Editor Robert Boucheron took a look around him and comments on what he observed, “Charlottesville is a university town, a hotbed of readers, and home to many writers, yet it lacked a publication for books, book reviews and literary news. Rivanna Review is here to fill the gap. It exists ‘for your reading pleasure.’ At the same time, it promotes small presses, American writers, and Virginia.”
Indeed, the name itself is reflective of its community, as Charlottesville is located on the Rivanna River, a tributary of the James. But writers and readers, know that contributors to the magazine come from around the globe and write about “places far and wide.” The most recent issue invites readers “to visit small town New England, downtown Atlanta, rural Highland County, Virginia, the Silk Road in Kazakhstan, a high school in suburban New Jersey, and the shadow world of hoaxes, malls, and Bigfoot.” Some recent contributors include Lynne Barrett, Jonathan Russell Clark, Maxim Matusevich, Ed Meek, Lisa Johnson Mitchell, Karl Plank, Christine Sneed, and Lucy Zhang.
Published in print quarterly, Rivanna Review features stories, essays, book reviews, literary notices, and artwork. “In fiction,” Boucheron says, “Rivanna Review favors the organic story, which uses plot, dialog, character, and setting – no artificial ingredients. The organic story is realistic, but odd things may happen, as in the stories of John Cheever, John Updike, and Eudora Welty. Essays are about the arts, biography, culture, history, literature, science, and travel. An essay argues a premise, recounts a personal experience, explores an idea, suggests an alternative to the conventional wisdom, or asks a question which so far has no answer. Book reviews are honest and brief. They quote from the book to give the reader a fair sample. Like a caboose at the end of the train is the News from Hapsburg, a small town in the Shenandoah Valley.”
For writers, submissions are always open with issues appearing on the first of March, June, September, and December. The deadline for each is a month before. The editorial process includes Boucheron, an architect and freelance writer, whose short stories and essays on literature and architecture have appeared in the Advocate, Alabama Literary Review, Bellingham Review, Concrete Desert Review, Fiction International, Louisville Review, New Haven Review, and Saturday Evening Post. Joining him is David Dillehunt, the deputy director of communications and public engagement for the City of Charlottesville, and head of Charlottesville Community Media Center, a video studio located on the Main Street Mall. He also edits the content of CPA-TV, a station owned by the city.
Dillehunt’s expertise comes into play with Rivanna Review‘s weekly cable TV program that includes excerpts read aloud with illustrations. For a schedule and link to live stream, visit https://www.charlottesville.gov/195/CPA-TV. You can also view on Comcast Cable channel 13, or on demand at Vimeo.com.
Though Boucheron says the toughest part about starting a publication has been “getting the magazine into bookstores and libraries,” he remarks that “starting the TV program and working with David Dillehunt has been delightful.” Always some give and take, but Boucheron is looking forward to developing Rivanna Review‘s presence all the more in the future. “In our second year, we hope to interview authors and artists on the TV program. The print magazine is black and white, but Issue 6 will have a color insert to feature paintings by Karen Rosasco. The most important goal is to expand our subscriber list, retail outlets, and public libraries.”
Boucheron offered some final advice, “Writers ought to read new magazines, to learn from the work of others, and to help those magazines survive. Excuses for not doing so are only excuses.”
To that end, writers and readers, you can find Rivanna Review along with many other wonderful new and established literary magazines at NewPages!