It’s Astoria to Zion Publication Day!

Lookout is thrilled to celebrate the official publication day of Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade.

image

We unveiled Astoria to Zion last week during the surprisingly sunny whirlwind that was AWP Seattle. EcotoneLookout, and Milkweed Editions co-hosted a book release party atop downtown Seattle’s gorgeous Sorrento Hotel. Longtime friend of Ecotone Ben Fountain, who wrote the foreword, introduced the collection; contributors Brock Clarke, Cary Holladay, and Rebecca Makkai offered fantastic readings from their stories. For more photos from the event, please see our coverage on Facebook. Check back here for upcoming video interviews with the gracious contributors as well.

imageCary Holladay reads from her story “Horse People” (see a digital broadside inspired by the story here).

Team Lookout has been working on Astoria to Zion for more than a year now. It seems like so long ago that we sat in Emily Smith’s publishing practicum course, armed with every back issue of Ecotone, fervently debating which stories to include in the anthology. From those early discussions to drafts of the cover and interior design to the planning of readings and other promotions; so much time, energy, and joy has gone into making this anthology a true celebration of the first ten years of Ecotone.

If you haven’t purchased a copy yet, please consider ordering directly from us here, or through an independent bookstore. (Check this blog for an upcoming feature about some of our favorite indie bookstores!)

For this week only, we’re offering Astoria to Zion for $10 with the promo code PUBDAY, as thanks for your support of Lookout and our twenty-six contributors. 

Katie Jones,
Lookout intern

Photos by Christine Hennessey

design by Lookout intern Becky Eades

design by Lookout intern Becky Eades

design by Lookout intern Katie Jones

design by Lookout intern Katie Jones

Digital broadsides from Astoria to Zion, our best of Ecotone anthology

To commemorate Ecotone's tenth anniversary, Lookout Books announces the publication of Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone's First Decade.

Ecotone has established itself as a preeminent venue for original short fiction from both recognized and emerging writers, with more than twenty stories from our first sixteen issues reprinted or noted in the Best American, New Stories from the South, Pushcart, and PEN/O. Henry series. With the publication of this anthology, Lookout Books makes a permanent home for the vital work of regular contributors Steve Almond, Rick Bass, Edith Pearlman, Ron Rash, Bill Roorbach, and Brad Watson, along with rising talents Lauren Groff, Ben Stroud, and Kevin Wilson, among others.

Over the past month, we’ve teased you with first paragraphs, as well as introductions to some of our favorites, but now we bring you something more visual. Starting every Monday, we’ll post a digital broadside that pairs a compelling image or graphic with a short excerpt from a story in the collection. Look for this series every Monday and be sure to check our blog for additional updates. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, and you can also find our digital broadsides on Pinterest.

The Larger Literary Community at UNC Wilmington

At Lookout Books we find inspiration not only from the publishing world but from the literary community in which we are housed. As part of the Department of Creative Writing at University of North Carolina Wilmington, we’re surrounded by other writers—students and teachers alike—whose careers encourage and influence us.

Here’s a recap of some of the literary events on campus this semester:

Faculty Readings

The first faculty reading of the semester featured poet Mark Cox and fiction writer Rebecca Lee, in celebration of Lee’s recent collection, Bobcat and Other Stories. In early October, visiting writer Jason Mott read from his recently-released novel, The Returned. Mott, who graduated from both the BFA and MFA programs at UNC Wilmington, spent October teaching a graduate fiction workshop. The third faculty reading of the semester featured Wendy Brenner and Nina de Gramont. The latter’s new young adult novel, Meet Me at the River, was released on October 15.

MFA Reading Series

Our MFA reading series is a chance for graduate students in our department to share work with each other and the Wilmington community. It kicked off with the First Year Reading, in which newcomers to the program read work in all three genres. The Halloween Reading, which is up next, is really an excuse to wear outrageous costumes, but we’ll also hear some great work from six MFA students across creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.  

Events in the Wilmington community

In celebration of Banned Books Week, local bookstore Old Books on Front St. hosted the Wilmington branch of a nationwide poetry marathon called 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Participating poets from our department included professors Lavonne Adams and Michael White and MFA students Jason Bradford and Emily Wilson. They joined more than two dozen Wilmington-area poets for hours and hours of readings and performances.

The events I’ve highlighted are far from a complete list of literary happenings; there are open mics, poetry slams, bookstore readings, and more happening nearly every week.

As we approach both macro and micro tasks at Lookout—from book design to marketing campaigns to event planning—being part of a thriving literary community reminds us that all of those tasks are in service of literature. And that some of that literature is being written and shared in the same building where we work.

Katie Jones,
Lookout Intern

 

Wow! I can’t believe the Fall semester here at Lookout Books has come to an end. We’re a teaching press (as you probably know already). Our staff is almost entirely made up of graduate students doing design, marketing, editing, blogging, social media, and way more.
As blog editor, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with our current staff: Joe Worthen, Katie Jones, Ethan Warren, Anna Sutton, and Ana Alvarez. I’d like to thank them for their hard work and take a brief moment to re-cap my favorite blog posts this semester:
The Five Best H.P. Lovecraft Book Covers - Joe Worthen 
Five of the Very Greatest Writers’ (Moustaches) - Ethan Warren 
4 Poets I Would Elect to Be President of the United States and the Subsequent Consequences of Their Presidency - John Mortara 
Dispatches from Old Books on Front St. - Anna Sutton 
Literary Playlist - Ana Alvarez 
Recommended Recommendations - Katie Jones
Also, I’d like to give you a little preview of what’s to come from Lookout Books in Spring 2013!
Ben Miller’s debut memoir, River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa will be released March 12, 2013! 
Thanks to a generous grant from the NC Arts Council, Ben Miller and John Rybicki will tour North Carolina - any booksellers or writing groups interested in hosting? Contact us! 
Our next project will be an best-of anthology of pieces from Ecotone's first 15 issues
Finally, we’ll be at AWP 2013 with bells on - come see us! We’ll be at the bookfair and the following events:
A Tribute to Edith Pearlman
The Debut Voices of UNCW’s Lookout Books
Small Presses Win Big: Publishers Sound Off on Their National Book Award Winners and Finalists
Andre Dubus III & Edith Pearlman: A Reading and Conversation
Much love and all the best,
- John Mortara, Lookout Intern

Wow! I can’t believe the Fall semester here at Lookout Books has come to an end. We’re a teaching press (as you probably know already). Our staff is almost entirely made up of graduate students doing design, marketing, editing, blogging, social media, and way more.

As blog editor, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with our current staff: Joe Worthen, Katie Jones, Ethan Warren, Anna Sutton, and Ana Alvarez. I’d like to thank them for their hard work and take a brief moment to re-cap my favorite blog posts this semester:

Also, I’d like to give you a little preview of what’s to come from Lookout Books in Spring 2013!

Finally, we’ll be at AWP 2013 with bells on - come see us! We’ll be at the bookfair and the following events:



Much love and all the best,

- John Mortara, Lookout Intern

Hey there, Lookout lookin’ good in UNCW’s Arts and Sciences magazine!

- Posted by John Mortara, via Sally Johnson.

Hey there, Lookout lookin’ good in UNCW’s Arts and Sciences magazine!


- Posted by John Mortara, via Sally Johnson.

This past week was full to the brim with fantastic Lookout events and guests! John Rybicki flew in to Wilmington on Thursday, April 12, and visited Roland-Grise Middle School the next day as a guest teacher for a class of thirty-seven seventh graders. The class loved him and showed some pretty powerful poetry chops themselves! We got some great video of the lesson.

Saturday I was lucky enough to spend time with John in downtown Wilmington during the Azalea Festival. Later that day Edith Pearlman came to Wilmington for the reading on Sunday and to kick of her North Carolina tour!

Sunday evening was the big night. Edith and John both read from their books. Edith read “Mates” from Binocular Vision and John read several poems from his book When All the World Is Old. The room, an audience of over one hundred people, sat silent and awestruck before applauding. After the reading, both John and Edith stayed for a reception with dessert. We sold their books while they signed them and spoke with the guests.

Edith is still on tour in North Carolina. Follow her adventures and interviews on our Facebook page!


Exhausted after a long week and excited for another!

- Sally J. Johnson, Lookout Intern