Jon Peede, the former counselor to the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), was recently appointed director of grants programs, a newly created position in the organization’s literature department. While continuing to direct the NEA's Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, a national initiative to encourage U.S. military personnel and their families to share their experiences through writing, Peede will also oversee the grants process for individual fellowships as well as awards to literary presses, publications, and organizations.
"One cannot overestimate the importance of discerning and supporting artistic excellence, especially during the formative years for writers and organizations," Peede says. "I am honored to work with Chairman [Dana] Gioia and our talented literature staff to build upon this rich legacy." Prior to his tenure at the NEA, Peede served as publisher of Parrish House Books, an editor at Mercer University Press, founding editor of Millsaps Magazine, and director of the Georgia Poetry Circuit.
The new position is part of an overall expansion of the NEA's literature department. David Kipen, the director of literature since 2005, also recently assumed a new role: director of national reading initiatives. While Peede will guide funding to artists, Kipen will manage nationwide programs, including the Big Read, which has become the NEA's largest literary initiative. Four new staff members have been added to the Big Read, and two to the Poetry Out Loud program, a national poetry recitation contest for high school students.