The magazine started in 1998 when University of Virginia graduate student Ted Genoways approached then editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review,looking for an editorial internship. Since VQR at the time had a strict policy of not hiring students from the creative writing department, Genoways was turned away. So he contacted Lisa Russ Spaar, a poet who was then director of the university’s creative writing program, and she helped Genoways create and fund Meridian. Ironically, several years after graduating from the university’s program, Genoways returned to become editor of VQR in 2003.
Meanwhile, Meridian continued to grow, moving from seventy paid subscriptions in its early days to a current print run of 1,200 issues. The magazine has a national distribution, and its works have been reproduced in Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and New Stories from the South. Since 1998 the magazine’s editors have included Genoways, Elizabeth Styron, Ravi Howard, Nathan Roberts, Jett McAlister, Stephen Boykewich, coeditors Ryan Fox and Anna Shearer, and Matthew Supko.