Jeanne Leiby, 1964-2011

This is terrible news out of The Avoyelles Journal: Jeanne Leiby, editor of The Southern Review, was killed in a single car accident last night. The original news report is here. On his blog, Alex V. Cook has a short personal eulogy about Jeanne as a writer, editor, and a friend. Last October, Jeanne wrote a short essay “Why I Call” on the Southern Review’s website, the kind of clear, lucid, and generous act that she was known for, explaining why she always took the time to call a writer when she accepted new work for The Southern Review.

I met Jeanne twice, both at AWP, and both times, as is common at big conferences, we only had a few minutes to talk. Listening to her and Lucy Ferris talk, nonstop, for ten minutes about new books, criticism, publishing, and editing, was breathtaking and delightful.  When speaking with her, Jeanne struck me as a fiercely intelligent, funny, and kind person who was dedicated to her magazine, her staff, and her friends. She fought hard for her TSR, and was deeply respected by the writers she published and the staff that worked with her. And I’m a bit stunned by how much this news has hurt. Maybe we don’t realize the imprint people leave on us until their gone.

All of our thoughts, prayers, and good wishes are being sent to Jeanne’s family and friends today.

Michael Nye is the managing editor of The Missouri Review.