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Beth Staples

Piper Writers Studio Instructor 2018 - 2019

About Beth Staples

Beth Staples is an assistant professor of English and editor of the literary magazine Shenandoah at Washington & Lee University. She has worked as an editor and publishing professional in a variety of jobs: as the assistant director of The Publishing Laboratory at UNC Wilmington, as editor of Lookout Books, as senior editor of Ecotone, and as the managing editor of Hayden's Ferry Review. (In her early professional life, she also dipped her toe into medical publishing at Elsevier and the print-on-demand publishing world at Xlibris.) In addition to teaching creative writing classes at W&L, she has taught classes in fiction writing, editing, and publishing at UNCW, Mesa Community College, and Arizona State University, where she earned her MFA in fiction writing.

View Classes from this Instructor

Date: June 15 - July 27, 2020
Type: Online Class
Genre: Agents, Business of Writing, Creative Nonfiction, Editing, Fiction, Publishing

The goal of this course is to give you a basic understanding of the publishing industry: how it is structured, how to navigate it, and how to make the best choices for your writing life and the life of your books. You are a writer, an artist—the most important thing you can do is focus on your work. But when the time comes to bring your writing to an audience, a host of other skills and knowledge come into play. While it’s true that the publishing world exists to support and promote art, it is also a business; agents, editors, and publishers must be mindful of the market and of money.


More About Beth Staples

Staples, Beth “Editor’s NoteShenandoah, November 1, 2018.

When I read a literary magazine, I like to skip to the meaty insides. So, when it comes to the editor’s note, I’ve always been a little suspicious of the genre. Editing, after all, is an invisible art. At the helm of Shenandoah now though, I feel the weight of sixty-eight years of editorship behind me, of the twenty-three years of notes from my predecessor, R. T. Smith, and so tradition ultimately wins over. I will procrastinate majestically, I decide, but I will be an editor who notes things.


Lute, Renee Beauregard “Nothing is More Exciting Than Finding a New VoiceThe Review Review.

Art reflects culture reflects art, right? Partially I read and like art because it teaches me new ways of being in my own body and of being in the world. So that affects my behavior, and human behavior affects (is) culture. But art is also in response to what we see going on in the world around us. It’s like some crazy loop! I don’t know how to answer this question intelligently. Can I come back to it?


Parsons, Elizabeth “Radical Rebirth: Beth Staples reinvents W&L's Shenandoah magazine with a commitment to diverse voices and intensive collaboration.The Columns, November 27, 2018.

The purpose of literature is to expand the reader’s sense of the world and their place in it. It should also be one of our goals for being alive: stepping into another person’s shoes and practicing radical empathy.