About the Cover
Our cover design by Nanette Black features Dagny,
Stockholm 1949, a photograph taken by Christer Strömholm
in the Söder, an arts-oriented neighborhood of Stockholm City,
Sweden. Strömholm became one of the leading photographers in
Scandinavia following World War II. Dagny, the woman pictured, is
his widow and mother to his son, Joakim, also a photographer. This
image is the fourth in a series of photographs by Strömholm
to grace the cover of The Kenyon Review.
On November 12, 2002, the Trustees of The
Kenyon Review presented E. L. Doctorow with the Kenyon Review
Award for Literary Achievement. Although you may already have heard
this news—it generated some considerable notice—I am
happy to mark the occasion here as well. For it was not merely a
very pleasant evening at Restaurant Daniel in New York. Nor was
its only success the addition to the KR endowment fund.
More than that, it honored one of the most significant authors of
our time. And it launched what we intend to be an annual event.
Why another award? you might well ask. And why now?
More than a year ago, during a larger, quite fascinating discussion
about contemporary literature and literary publishing, the KR
Trustees came to believe that this is an appropriate moment and
that such an award will be welcome, indeed important, to a national
audience. Presented by an independent, non-commercial magazine,
it will honor careers dedicated to excellence, to a creative spirit
surpassing mere fashion or brief commercial appeal. E. L. Doctorow,
and those authors to be so acknowledged in years to come, have lifted
us all by the power of their imaginations, the beauty of their art
and innovation, the courage of their uncompromising visions. Our
thanks, our applause—and a significant check from our Trustees—seem
Speaking of money and public thanks. . . .
The readers, and particularly the subscribers, of KR are
a remarkable lot—a generous lot. I discovered this shortly
after I came on board as editor nearly nine years ago. My mandate
early on was pretty clear: plug a leaking budget. Well, actually,
it was to create a realistic budget from scratch and then stick
to it. I patched holes. I wrote grant proposals. And I turned to
our subscribers with a plea for help.
They—you—responded with greater enthusiasm than I’d
dared hope. And your generosity hasn’t lessened since then, even
during the dark days after September 11, 2001.
We’ve continued to pursue creative means
for ensuring KR‘s financial stability and therefore its
survival. The holes have disappeared. Our Trustees have created
an endowment fund unique among literary magazines. But gifts from
our subscribers, readers, and friends remain critical to our operating
budget. I believe that is a healthy fact. It’s one of the ways that
our relationship remains two-way.
I do write thank-you notes to everyone who makes a gift to this
magazine. But this is a first chance, and probably an overdue one,
to make the thanks public. Our readers are remarkable.
FYI: A scholarship fund for the Young Writers
at Kenyon program has been established in memory of Tom Bigelow,
managing editor of The Kenyon Review, who died in June
2002. Contributions may be sent to The Kenyon Review, Attn:
Bigelow Memorial, Gambier, OH 43022.
—David H. Lynn