State of Oklahoma Recognizes World Literature Today Legacy, 400th Issue with Citation

May 10, 2022
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A female figure with a bird's head against a mottled red background. Text reads: Muses: Writers, Artists, and Their Inspirations

The State of Oklahoma recognized World Literature Today magazine’s 95-year publishing history with a special citation at the state capitol on Tuesday, May 10. Members of WLT’s staff, including Executive Director Robert Con Davis-Undiano, were on hand to receive the award.

The citation was commemorated by a special floor presentation by Rep. Merleyn Bell (D-Norman). Bell said she was excited to draw attention to WLT’s singular contribution to Oklahoma’s literary landscape.

“I’m proud and honored to recognize this jewel in Oklahoma’s crown,” Bell said. “Since its humble beginnings as an academic journal, World Literature Today has evolved and expanded its reach, connecting writers and readers across the globe through the publication of their award-winning magazine and support of literary programming that all takes place right here in Oklahoma.”

Bell, who was first elected to represent Norman’s 45th district in 2018, began her professional career as WLT’s art director from 2006 through 2017. Prior to that, she volunteered as an intern for the magazine.

Davis-Undiano said that he is humbled and honored by the state’s decision to honor WLT’s unique legacy. “World Literature Today has a big following around the world. It belongs to the people of Oklahoma, and I’m so proud to be one of the stewards of this rich tradition,” he said.

This month marks the magazine’s 400th issue and features a special section showcasing writers, artists and their inspirations, with cover art by Oklahoma artist Holly Wilson. Other highlights include poetry, essays, creative nonfiction and fiction from Canada, England, France, Israel and Russia as well as reviews of more than two dozen books from all over the world.

The mission of the World Literature Today organization is to serve the international, state and university communities by achieving excellence as a literary publication, a sponsor of literary prizes and a cultural center for students.

Established in 1927 as a magazine publishing office, in its current iteration WLT serves as a humanities center for the University of Oklahoma, an expansion that includes an annual literary festival connected to the Neustadt Prizes, university courses and high school outreach, student internships, writing workshops, fine arts performances and scholarship offerings.

It is estimated that WLT is seen by more than 1.4 million readers annually.

Leading up to its centennial in 2027, the magazine is conducting a fundraising campaign called the March to 100. More information about supporting WLT’s mission can be found at worldlit.org.

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