Updates in story: The Oxford American has a new editor, according to a news release by the magazine.
Roger D. Hodge, a former editor of Harper's Magazine, took over as editor of the prestigious Southern literary magazine Sept. 1, Publisher Warwick Sabin said Tuesday.
Hodge was offered the position in August.
"The appointment of Roger Hodge as editor of The Oxford American will begin an exciting new era for the magazine," Sabin said in a news release Monday.
Hodge will lead nine employees at OA. Senior Editor Wes Enzinna left the magazine for a job in New York last Friday, Sabin said. Hodge will decide whether to rehire vacant positions at the magazine, Sabin said.
"Roger Hodge brings impeccable credentials as someone who has edited a major national magazine," Sabin said. "He has almost universal respect and admiration from writers around the country. I think everyone believes the magazine is in great hands."
While Hodge does live in New York, he is making plans to move to Arkansas, Sabin said. Hodge has two children that he did not want to immediately "yank" out of school, he said.
Sabin said Hodge will be spending one to two weeks a month in Arkansas and will look at real estate.
Sabin said he thought OA's circulation — currently with about 20,000 subscribers — would increase under Hodge.
The move to hire a new editor comes in the wake of scandal after founder and former editor Marc Smirnoff was fired in July over sexual harassment allegations. Managing editor and art editor Carol Ann Fitzgerald was fired at the same time. Both have denied sexually harassing anyone.
Hodge takes the helm just as the University of Central Arkansas seeks to review and possibly change its relationship with the magazine, but Sabin said Hodge will have little to do with negotiations between UCA and OA. The university provides about $50,000 a year to the magazine for supplies and contributes office space in Old Main on campus.
The magazine also owes the university about $700,000. That money is supposed to be paid as revenue improves at OA, but the magazine has not earned profit enough to pay its debt, a UCA official said previously.
In the past, OA has struggled to remain financially solvent.
During the Board of Trustees meeting Friday, university President Tom Courtway said he planned to meet with Sabin again to discuss money and space UCA gives OA, increasing the number of UCA students interning at the magazine and creating a closer relationship between the magazine and the university.
Sabin said Tuesday the OA is "certainly willing to do anything reasonable to keep the partnership alive."
On Friday, Courtway said UCA wants more prominence in the OA. He plans to present a plan to the trustees in the next 30 days, he said.
“In fairness to everyone, we need to wrap this matter up,” Courtway said.