Leslie Green’s love of books began as a child, but her career with books at LSU Press began in 2003.

Four years into her time at the Press, The Southern Review, also at LSU, recruited her. In 2011, she was able to work for both when the two literary publishers merged.

Green shared her love of working for both established entities by saying, “It makes a difference to be able to work in a place where you actually care about the mission.”

The Southern Review, started in 1935 at LSU, is a quarterly literary journal that publishes poetry and short stories, and was hailed by Time magazine as “superior to any other journal in the English language.”The Southern Reviewreceives so many writers’ works of creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry that it is only able to publish 1 percent of submissions.

LSU Press, also established in 1935, is one of the oldest, largest and highest achieving university presses in the South. It has published more than 2,000 books, garnering over 500 awards—including four Pulitzer prizes.

When Green’s 10-year work anniversary approached, her parents, Drs. Ed and Linda Green, chose to honor her accomplishment by creating the James Dudley Wells Memorial Endowment, named in memory of Leslie’s late older brother.

“They’ve always supported everything I’ve done,” Green said. “I’ve always gone in the direction of visual art, and this ended up being a nice marriage of the two.”

Leslie said her brother’s voracious appetite for reading is what sparked her own interest in books when she was a toddler. A swimmer, lifeguard and SCUBA diver, Wells studied marine biology at LSU but also loved reading.

The endowment supplements The Southern Review’s operations, which are largely funded by the state and sales of the journal. It allows the organization to use the gift where it is most needed, such as enabling staff to attend professional development conferences and bring in authors for readings.

“I believe [literature] is a really important part of civilization, and it’s important to our legacy in Louisiana and the world to publish what we do,” Leslie explained. “If we don’t support it, it’s going to go away.”

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2014.

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