Call for Submissions!

Ecotone 23: The Craft Issue

For Ecotone’s fall 2017 issue, the editors invite writing on craft. We seek work that explores craftsmanship of all kinds, that exhibits its own craftiness, makes us think about the act of making in new ways. Some possible considerations:

Craft shaped by place; place shaped by craft—how our inner and outer environments influence how, what, and why we create.

Guilds and apprenticeships. Sewing circles and solitary work. So-called high craft and so-called low. Craft as and in companionship. Craft as community.

State fairs. The fiction, history, poetics of witchcraft. Craft and technology. Making and destruction. Form and function, beauty and ugliness. Spacecraft, aircraft, watercraft.

Gender and craft. Race and craft. Queerness and craft. Craft traditions under threat (by lack of attention or too much of it), and traditions in the process of being revived.

Craft as resistance. Craft as activism.

Metalsmithing, embroidery, signpainting; cocktails, baking, fermentation; amphibrachs, bops, Oulipian constraints.

Rhetorical strategy. Ars poetica. The craft of writing. Of editing.

Craft as a means of resilience, of cultural and bodily survival.

Cleverness, craftiness, smarts. The narrative possibilities thereof. The clues for keeping on therein.

We need your craft now, writers. Please send work that is traditional or experimental, but above all, excellently made. To ensure that we are able to consider your submission, please review our complete guidelines before sending it. We may read with unthemed issues in mind as well; still, if you are thinking craftwise, be sure to mention the theme in your cover letter.

Seven Questions with Angela Ledgerwood

In Seven Questions, we interview writers, editors, designers, and others in publishing. Today we talk to Angela Ledgerwood, host of the popular literary podcast Lit Up, a weekly conversation with some of the world’s most celebrated writers. She’s chatted with Ann Patchett, Maggie Nelson, and Colson Whitehead, with episodes featuring Trevor Noah, Affinity Konar, and Jade Chang on the way. Ledgerwood is also Cosmopolitan’s Books Editor-at-Large, where she’s  interviewed some of her favorite women including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and her writing has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Marie Claire, Interview, and more.

credit-sidney-benson

(Photo credit Sidney Benson)

What books are open on your desk right now?

Siri Hustvedt’s upcoming book, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind and a galley of The Idiot by New Yorker staff writer Elif Batuman. It’s described as a portrait of the artist as a young woman, so I’m intrigued. Human Acts by Han Kang coming out in early ‘17 is there too.

Who is your dream podcast guest, living or dead?

Siri Hustvedt. That dream is coming true later this month. I’ve been amazed by her intellect and the breadth of her knowledge about art, neuroscience, and psychology for many years. My ultimate wish would be to witness Siri, the artist Louise Bourgeois, and Charles Dickens chatting amongst themselves. I’d simply be a fly on the wall.

What emerging author or first book are you most excited about?

I’m eager to read Julie Buntin’s debut novel Marlena, about two girls who go feral and embark on a year that explodes their lives.

the-womanName a book you bought for its cover.

The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir—I’ve still not read it because I think I’m afraid of what I’ll find inside. I look at it daily—one day I’ll take the plunge.

If you could spend a year writing anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A quiet spot overlooking the ocean on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I’ve never been, but in my fantasy I’d wake early to write and drink coffee from a room overlooking the ocean. A daily swim and walk would be mandatory. As would limited internet.

What strategies do you have for encouraging writers to open up on Lit Up?

I was given excellent advice from a dispute resolution specialist about how to get people to relax in certain situations. Not that the writers I have on are in conflict with me, I hope! Building a rapport begins with eye contact and touch. Often having a casual chat about what’s going on in the world to break the ice is helpful, as is trying to find common ground early in the conversation. I never start with the most personal questions. I have to get a sense of who the person is in front of me and what they’re comfortable with before I delve more deeply.

Lightning round:

Typing or longhand? Typing for work, longhand for pleasure.

Morning or night? Morning.

Coffee or tea? Both!

Beer or wine? Wine.

Mountains or sea? Sea.

Hardcover or paperback? Paperback.

Novel or short story? Novel.

Highlight or underline? Underline.

Contributors Honored by the 2017 PEN Literary Awards Longlists

The Ecotone/Lookout team is thrilled that so many of our contributors have been recognized by the 2017 PEN Literary Awards.  Each year PEN uses its Literary Awards program to honor the best and brightest in fiction, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, drama, and poetry, and we’ve got our fingers crossed for these writers as the award announcements approach!

We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books/UNC Wilmington), Clare Beams  (“Granna” in Ecotone)

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Beams is an expert at providing odd and surprising details that make her stories come alive, and the result is a powerful collection about what we need from others and, in turn, what we can offer others of ourselves.”

 

 

The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood (Graywolf Press), Belle Boggs   (“Imaginary Children” and “Peanut Hospital” in Ecotone)

From the New York Times: “[A] thoughtful meditation on childlessness, childbearing, and—for some—the stretch of liminal agony in between.”

 

 

Becoming Earth (Red Hen Press), Eva Saulitis  (“Becoming Earth” in Ecotone)

From the publisher: In this posthumous collection of essays, Eva Saulitis meditates on martality, the art of living fully, and her advancing illness and nearing death, confronting the waiting question without fear or sentimentality: how are you going to live when you know you are going to die?

 

The Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (W.W. Norton & Company), Patrick Phillips (“The Singing” in Ecotone)

From the publisher: A gripping tale of racial cleansing in Forsyth County, Georgia, and a harrowing testament to the deep roots of racial violence in America.

 

 

Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press), Safiya Sinclair  (“Another White Christmas inVirginia” in Ecotone)

From the publisher: Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair’s Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile.

 

Award finalists will be announced by PEN on Jan. 18, 2017, and winners will be announced Feb. 22. (With the exception of the awards conferred for debut fiction and essay, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the PEN/Nabokov Award, which will be announced live at PEN’s award ceremony). And finally, the winners will be celebrated on March 27 at the PEN America Literary Award ceremony hosted at the New School in New York City.

UNCW Partners With HarperCollins

UNCW has recently developed an affiliation with HarperCollins, the world’s second-largest English-language publisher, to provide opportunities for BFA and MFA students that are typically available only to students in NYC-based publishing programs. The mentoring program will pair individual students in two advanced book practicum courses (BFA and MFA) with senior publishing professionals at HarperCollins for regular Skype conversations to answer questions about the industry, provide post-graduation career advice and resume counseling, as well as additional networking opportunities with other publishing professionals, authors, and agents—both within and outside of HarperCollins.

img_1888

For the first time yesterday, MFA and BFA students Skyped with Brian Perrin, Senior Director of Marketing for Harper Wave and Harper Business, and Sarah Murphy, Senior Editor at Harper Wave, about what they do, how they got where there are, and advice for students looking to break into the industry.

img_1891

“Publishing has always been an industry learned by apprenticeship. Everyone working in it today is grateful for the time and mentoring they received and genuinely happy—eager, even—to give something back. We’re very much looking forward to sharing what we know about this crazy, frustrating, wonderful business with students at UNCW,” Perrin said.

HarperCollins staff also will visit campus periodically to participate in the department’s annual Writers’ Week programs and to serve as the biannual four-week visiting publishing professional, next slated for fall 2017. Publishing arts students also will be eligible to apply for HarperCollins New York-based internship programs, offered in spring, summer, and fall. As a general-interest, broad-based publisher with global operations, HarperCollins will be able to offer students connections to every facet of the book business, across all consumer book categories, according to each student’s specific interests. We’re so excited for what’s to come from the partnership!

For more information about the partnership and other goings-on at UNCW, check out this article in Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

 

The 2017 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition is now open!

The 2017 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition is now open for submissions. This contest awards $1,500 in prizes to a piece of lasting nonfiction that is outside the realm of conventional journalism and has relevance to North Carolinians. Subjects may include traditional categories such as reviews, travel articles, profiles or interviews, place/history pieces, or culture criticism.

The first-, second-, and third-place winners will receive $1,000, $300, and $200 respectively. The winning entry will be considered for publication by Ecotone.

For full guidelines, and to submit, click here.

The final judge is Garrard Conley, author of the memoir Boy Erased (Riverhead, 2016), featured in Buzzfeed, Travel + Leisure, the LA Times, and many other publications as a must-read book. Megan Daum of The New York Times calls Boy Erased a story written “through the lens…of compassion,” and Publisher’s Weekly, in a starred review, calls it an “exceptionally well-written memoir.” Conley’s fiction and nonfiction can be found in Time, Vice, CNN, Buzzfeed, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Elizabeth Kostova Foundation writers’ conferences. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

The 2017 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition is administered by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Department of Creative Writing, a community of passionate, dedicated writers who believe that the creation of art is a pursuit valuable to self and culture. The contest is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2017 (postmark).

The 2016 winner was Karen Smith Linehan of Carolina Beach, whose meditative nature essay “Magnolia grandiflora” displayed “solid sense of voice, language, and dramatic arc,” threading detailed memories into a lyrical read.

Rose Post worked for the Salisbury Post for fifty-six years as a reporter, feature writer, and columnist. She won numerous state and national awards for her writing and earned the N.C. Press Women’s top annual award four times. She received the O. Henry Award from the Associated Press three times, the Pete Ivey Award, and the School Bell Award for educational coverage. Nationally, she won the 1989 Ernie Pyle Award, the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award for human-interest writing, and the 1994 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ Award.

News Roundup

It’s been a strange time in America these last few weeks, so we’re heading into this Roundup trying to focus on some good things for our readers and from our contributors. Here are things to toot happy horns about, and inspiring reads in the aftermath of some disconcerting divisiveness.

First up, Lookout author Clare Beams has received a ton of wonderful attention recently for We Show What We Have Learned. Most notably, perhaps, from the New York Times! “Stories as well executed as these are their own reward, but it’s also clear from the capaciousness on display here that Ms. Beams has novels’ worth of worlds inside her.” But there was love too from many others, including Kirkus‘s list of Best Debut Fiction of 2016, Paste Magazine, Parnassus Books, the Fiction Writers Review,  the Boston Globe, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Charlotte Observer, the Wilmington Star News, Shelf Awareness, Brit+Co, and Flavorwire, to name a few more notables. You can also hear Clare talk with fellow debut story writer April Ayers Lawson on WUNC’s the State of Things. And, here’s a roundup of photos from Clare’s very celebratory book launch here at UNCW.

14908223_1272191572831834_2964909749684499340_n

Could you possibly need more convincing that this is a book you should read?

Lookout author Ben Miller’s Mural Speaks! project, the aim of which is to translate William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow” into each of the 140 plus languages currently spoken in Sioux Falls, is still looking for submissions. We love the way the project celebrates the diversity of the urban midwest.

Oh, but there’s so much more to celebrate from Ecotone contributors!

We’re thrilled that Dan Hoyt is the winner of the inaugural Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction for his novel This Book Is Not For You. Dan’s story “The Mad King” is one wild ride, in our current issue.

517zwtcc5zl-_sx326_bo1204203200_Patrick Phillips’s book Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America, out this September, is reviewed in the Washington Post. You can read an excerpt from the book at Longreads.

Lynne Thompson and Douglas Kearney are included in this fabulous Black Lives Matter Poetry Reader.

Alison Hawthorne Deming offers the first entry in a new series at Terrain, “Letter to America.”

National Poetry Series winner Melissa Range is featured on PBS News Hour, taking on terms like “redneck” and “white trash.”

Annie Finch’s poem “Moon of Our Daughters” is featured on the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day.

Megan Snyder-Camp, who has not one but two books out this fall, has three poems in the Sewanee Review.

Belle Bogg’s The Art of Waiting is one of Oprah’s favorite books of 2016!

In their October issue, Poetry Magazine published Issue 21 contributor Laurie Clements Lambeth’s poem “Cusped Prognosis,” which was originally part of her essay, “Going Downhill From Here” in Ecotone‘s current issue.

We hope these engaging reads offer some perspective, comfort, and enjoyment. We’ll see you back here soon for our next Roundup!

The Starving Artist: A Thanksgiving Meditation on Food and Literary Fuel

by Anna Montgomery Patton

There is a strange ache that comes with hunger.  One must take inventory of one’s body, locate the source of the hunger. Stomach? Brain? In fact, the feeling of hunger is not a message delivered to the brain from the stomach. It turns out that Neuropeptide not only communicates a desire for food to the brain, it also reduces pain, stress, anxiety, and blood pressure. Sometimes when I feel hungry I automatically assume my body is telling me it wants food. Perhaps it is simply wanting some sort of nourishment. And what I, and many others, find satiating is reading. Words are delicious.

It is no surprise, then, that an incredible amount of restaurants all over the world share names with well-regarded literary magazines and journals. During a meeting of the Ecotone practicum last semester, we discovered Prairie Schooner. No, not the noted literary journal of the University of Nebraska, which has been in circulation since 1926. This was Prairie Schooner of Ogden, Utah, a Wild West–themed restaurant where one can “dine in a covered wagon next to an open prairie fire while enjoying our delicious hand cut steaks, fresh seafood, and signature desserts.” I have not had the opportunity to dine at Prairie Schooner, but my experience reading an issue of Prairie Schooner was similar to enjoying a satisfying meal. And should that not be the goal of successful writing? If nothing else, a writer strives to leave a reader full, if not a little uncomfortable.

The discovery of Prairie Schooner (the restaurant) led me down a rabbit hole of dining opportunities linked to the literary, some more “fine” than others. Ploughshare Brewing Company in Lincoln, Nebraska (“Share the Bounty! Get Behind the Plough!”) was named best new restaurant in 2014, and boasts original brews and brats among its vittles. Wellington, England, is home to Tin House, a Cantonese restaurant with an overpriced (in my humble opinion) chow mein takeaway. McSweeney’s serves up twenty-one pieces of shrimp for a reasonable $4.50 in Pittsburgh. They are better known for their $1.95 red hots: hot dogs in steamed buns with McSweeney’s meat sauce and onions. The website warns, “onions buried, may cause sauce to fall off hot dog due to bun crisis of 2002.” I am uncertain about what this means, but it seems of a piece with the quirkiness and “daily laffs” of McSweeney’s.

Threepenny Cafe in Charlottesville, Virginia, not only won the OpenTable 2015 Diner’s Choice Award, and serves a $33 three-course prix fixe menu that sounds delectable (think charred romaine salad, pan roasted rockfish with champagne sauce, pecan bread budding with bourbon creme anglaise), but they have a lovely outdoor patio and live music. Back in the United Kingdom, the Granta has a mouthwatering menu of modern spins on British pub classics. Every Sunday they have a home-cooked roast along with seasonal vegetables, and Yorkies, also home-cooked. The literary Granta is similarly classic and attuned to long-time traditions.

Continue Reading