History of SHR

By Martin F. Sorensen
From The Best of The Sand Hill Review


Best of The Sand HIll Review

One day over ten years ago, I walked down the hall toward the office of my colleague, Janice Dabney, where we worked at SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, now called SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory). I was thinking about all the urgent reasons to create a literary anthology for our region. I was writing my first novel and learning about the publishing industry, about how agents want to see prior publishing credits, including short works selected for magazines and literary journals. I remember thinking, ‘I can do one better than that. I can publish a literary magazine on the Internet at Stanford and refer agents to that.’ When I reached Janice’s office, I shared my idea, and asked her if she would be responsible for selecting and editing poetry for the new publication. Janice was active, and is to this day, in the Palo Alto society called Waverley Writers. I thought of the Review’s name because SLAC is located on Sand Hill Road, and Janice agreed that a Stanford website would lend credibility to the project. As it happened, in perusing other small presses, I found a low-cost way to get a short run in print through OPM in Pennsylvania. Besides our excellent poetry editor, I was also grateful to Roxanne Jones of SLAC, winner of awards for technical excellence, who created the print layout. In 2000, the Sand Hill Review name was copyrighted with the Library of Congress, and the magazine was certified as a nonprofit organization by the State of California. And so, we began with both poetry and short fiction, both online and print versions.

I believe it was thanks to the Internet and the changes in publishing that The Sand Hill Review has grown from a very local magazine to an international one in terms of contributors. Authors and readers could find each issue on the web, at the time of transition, something rare in literary magazines. There were print literary journals and online webzines, but few which appeared in both formats.

SHR 2010

The poetry in that first edition began with the Waverley Writers, but even then extended beyond that group. The exception was the 2005 edition, comprised exclusively WW poetry. In 2003, we included poetry and stories from the Palo Alto Writers Conference, where both Janice and I were on the faculty. A story section from the California Writers Club, San Francisco/Peninsula branch was included in the 2006 edition, and we solicited work from that group in subsequent editions. So, from the very beginning the motivation was to make the Review a place where writers could show their work in the company of others in a setting of high literary standards. I hoped that what we did in early editions was to set a standard that could be raised in the coming years. Two local writer/editors, Elise Frances Miller (2008) and James Hanna (2009-2011), accepted the challenge of raising the Review to the first rank of small press literary publications through their careful selection of material and personalized editing services. The staff has grown with the quality and reach of submissions. Hanna is now assisted by Wendy Walter, Assistant Editor and Janice Dabney continues to select and edit the poetry. Beginning in 2009, we engaged Stanford Hospital RN Joyce Savre, who we knew to be a gifted and dedicated artist and poet, as art editor. Paintings, drawings, and fine art prints in a variety of media, selected from local (Peninsula/South Bay) artists, now complement the writings and enhance the visual dimension of the Review.

Ten years ago, I had no idea how well-received the Review would become. All of our talented writers and artists have contributed to my initial enterprise. I earnestly thank them all!

As we look toward the future, we embark on a new phase in our history. Writer and publisher Tory Hartmann has honored us by requesting our name for her new publishing initiative, The Sand Hill Review Press. Like its namesake, the Press is multifaceted, flexible, and in the vanguard of the electronic publishing revolution. Beginning with this selection of short fiction gleaned from our first ten years, our new publisher helps us celebrate both our past and future. Our quest for an ever-broader audience for talented writers and artists will continue to be realized in years to come.


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