Welcome to the home of The Virginia Normal, an international literary journal edited by the students and faculty of Virginia State University.
We publish two issues each spring: a print issue featuring literary work submitted from across the world and selected by our staff of students and faculty, and an online issue featuring creative work from VSU students.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Amidst the shutdowns and fiscal challenges of the past year, we have decided to embrace this opportunity for change. The Virginia Normal will be undergoing a makeover. Beginning in late spring/early summer of 2021, we will begin seeking submissions for The Red Brick Review, a fully online journal produced by the faculty and student editors who brought you The Virginia Normal. Though we will be updating our editorial mission and our format, we will still bring you high-quality poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. Please stay tuned to our website and social media pages for updates.
The Virginia Normal was founded by faculty members of Virginia State University’s Department of Languages and Literature in 2013. Our first issue appeared in Spring 2015.
It is from Virginia State University’s origins as a normal school that its literary journal, The Virginia Normal, finds its name.
Contrary to what the name may imply, “normal” schools were hardly average. Also known as teacher training colleges, normal schools set a standard (or the “norm”) for other schools to model themselves after. They originated in France in 1685 with the founding of the École Normale in Reims and arrived in the United States in the early 1800s. In March of 1882, the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute was founded for black teachers in or near the Petersburg area. Over the years, the school would go through several name changes–Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in 1902, Virginia State College for Negroes in 1930, Virginia State College in 1946–before adopting its current name, Virginia State University, in 1979.