Roundup

News Roundup

In this week’s Roundup, we’ve got some fantastic contributor news, and a bunch of celebrity photos from AWP. By celebrity, of course, I mean our contributors and editors and students–all celebrities to us!

First up is Honey from the Lion author Matthew Neill Null, who won the 2016 Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize, awarded by the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Matt’s getting a fellowship that includes a stipend and a yearlong residency in Rome. Past recipients of the prestigious award include Ralph Ellison, A.R. Ammons, Cormac McCarthy, Anne Sexton, Junot Díaz, Anthony Doerr, Sigrid Nunez, Randall Kenan, and Lorrie Moore, among others–a true celebrity lineup. We’re so happy for Matt!Matt and Emily at table

And here’s Matt looking Rome-bound with our publisher and art director, Emily Louise Smith at the AWP booth.

You might have heard some buzz from us in the past couple weeks about Lookout’s newest author, Clare Beams. We announced her cover a couple of weeks ago, and if you squint in this picture, you can see the galley there on the table. We’re so excited to share her fantastic collection of short stories, We Show What We Have Learned, with you in October.

Before we launch into the full slate of photos, some reading you should check out around the web: Ecotone contributor John Jeremiah Sullivan profiles “Shuffle Along,” one of the first successful all-black musicals, and the painful history of black performance in America. Ecotone contributor Claire Vaye Watkins has an essay up at LitHub about returning to her desert hometown and reflecting on what it means to run away from where you came from. And Lookout  author Ben Miller also has an essay up on LitHub about the greatest writers’ group to come out of Davenport, Iowa.

Have I mentioned how much we love our contributors and the students who work on our imprints through UNCW’s MFA program? Man, we do. Here are some photos to help share that love. Behold, AWP booth photos from Lynn Thompson, Jamie Poissant, J.P. Grasser, and Leslie Wheeler.

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And here are our staff: running, goofing, overhearing, eating, and partying (thanks to folks at the PEN Center for the party shots!).

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We hope your AWP was as filled with inspiration, connection, and celebrity sightings as ours was. We’ll see you next year in DC and back here next week for another Roundup!

News Roundup

This week we’re rounding up the Ecotone and Lookout haps (that’s California-style talk for “events”) at next week’s AWP conference in L.A. We, like, totally hope you’ll come see us at tables 919 and 921 in the bookfair!

Stay tuned to the blog this week for details about promotions we’ll be running, including a caption contest related to Honey from the Lion (the winner will receive the ENTIRE Lookout catalog!) and how using #overheardatawp in honor of Ecotone‘s sound issue can score you some schwag.

Speaking of Honey from the Lion, you’ll find author Matthew Neill Null signing books twice in the bookfair: on Thursday at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center table (1254) from 10 to 11, and at our table (919) on Friday from 11 to 12. Come get a book signed!

And if you’re up for a party, please come have a drink and a chat with us on Thursday from 5:30-7:30 as we mingle with our friends at the Common, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Young Literati of The Library Foundation of Los Angeles, and Santa Monica Review

Here’s what some of our other friends are up to:

This panel features a nice taste of the two “great Jamies” of our Anniversary issue :
The New South: A Reading in Three Genres. (Devin Latham,  Dr. David Jamie Poissant,  Adam Vines,  Carrie Jerrell,  Jamie Quatro) With Faulkner’s South paved into history, what defines Southern literature today? Do contemporary Southern writers still make use of old tropes like familial loyalty, racial tension, and heavy religion set in a humid landscape of live oaks and wisteria? Does the urban and suburban South require new settings and themes? This reading features five Southern writers reading fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that illuminates and redefines Southern literature today. Thurs at 9 am: Room 406 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Here’s a place-based and co-starring issue 20 contributor Toni Jensen:
Rewriting the Iconic West: Native and Latino Writers on Crafting Change. (Toni Jensen,  Stephen Graham Jones,  Tim Hernandez,  Erika Wurth,  Ito Romo) From the cowboy on horseback to the detective on the dark city streets, the fictional icons of the West loom both familiar and large. Their stories have the ease of familiarity, but what if the stories you want to tell shift the vantage point? What if your hero is the one shot by the cowboy, the man turning the corner to avoid the detective? A diverse set of writers discusses strategies for telling the West’s iconic stories through a wide range of viewpoints and in diverse cultural contexts. Thurs. at 10:30: Room 402 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Another place-based panel, this one featuring Ecotone all-star Alison Deming and one-time contributor, the legendary Mark Doty:
The Tattooed Desert: A Tribute to and Reading from Richard Shelton, Hosted by the University of Arizona Poetry Center. (Alison Deming,  Mark Doty,  Ken Lamberton,  Naomi Shihab Nye,  Richard Shelton) This panel/reading celebrates the life of poet, writer, teacher, and literary citizen Richard Shelton. Shelton’s 12 collections of poetry include The Tattooed Desert, Selected Poems: 1969–1981, and The Last Person to Hear Your Voice. A critical influence in the 20th-century American literary landscape and a quintessential voice of the American Southwest, Shelton’s work as an educator perseveres, particularly in the Arizona prison-writing program he launched in 1974 that continues today. Thurs. at 10:30: Room 502 B, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

This one has Ecotone‘s editor Anna Lena and contributor Annie Finch:
From Tetrameter to Terza Rima: Prosody as a Catalyst for Discovery in the Workshop. (Anna Lena Phillips,  Kim Addonizio,  Annie Finch,  Timothy Steele) Formal poetics can enliven workshops and offer students access to a rich set of traditions, replete with potential for new work. As teachers and authors of guides to poetic craft, the panelists have introduced students to formal prosody in college courses and in community settings. How can craft guides be used to encourage experimentation with meter, fixed forms, and procedural work? Their titles offer a wide range of strategies; they will discuss these as well as other possibilities. Thurs at 1:30: Room 409 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

This one has Ecotone contributor Camille Dungy:
Genre-Crossing and Poetic Truth: Lyric Nonfictions, Reported Poems. (Tess Taylor ,  Camille Dungy ,  Robert Polito,  Tom Sleigh,  Brian Turner ) This panel examines the places where genres collide and inform one another. What happens when the poet takes up the memoirist’s work, the reporter’s notebook, the essayist’s pen? What do poets learn about poetry by pushing its boundaries? By what means does documentary poetry emerge, and what can poets teach documentarians? Five skilled practitioners of both poetry and nonfiction explore the productive sites where genres overlap. Thurs. at 3: Room 518, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

So, no contributors here, but this one’s right up our alley!:
The New Nature Writing. (Sarah Gilman,  Meera Subramanian,  Christine Woodside,  Elizabeth Rush,  Laura Pritchett) What is the impact of climate change on contemporary literature and creative nonfiction in particular? How do you write creatively about climate change? And how can we engage new audiences about a deeply polemic issue? Through a sustained discussion of craft, best practices, and theory, this panel explores the ways in which climate change has destabilized and redefined our literary interaction with nature. Thurs. at 3: Gold Salon 4, JW Marriott LA, 1st Floor

We’ve got a hat trick in this one! Ansel, Rebecca, and David are all Ecotone contributors:
The Music Issue: Poetry’s Root Influence (Hosted by the Oxford American). (Ansel Elkins ,  Ada Limon,  Don Share,  Rebecca Gayle Howell,  David Kirby) Roots music represents a diversity of styles ranging from Tejano to gospel to blues and beyond—sound work from the crossroads of place, family, and culture. Poetry, too, has an Americana tradition, a divergent verse that sings the multitudes of our fly-over selves. The Oxford American presents a conversation about musical influence that moves through the global into the local and returns us to the origins of poetry: the beat, the breath. Friday at 9: Room 502 B, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

This panel features folks from UNCW’s graduate program–Jamie Mortara, former Lookout intern, and Corinne Manning, former Pub Lab staff:
Reimagining Literary Spaces. Maisha Z. Johnson (Black Girl Dangerous, Silk Road,various), Jayy Dodd (The Offing), Zinzi Clemmons (Apogee Journal), Jamie J. Mortara (Voicemail Poems), Nancy Jooyoun Kim (various, The James Franco Review)Literary journals must go beyond stating a commitment to inclusivity and diversity. To change the literary landscape and make public more work by POC, LGBTQ, women,working class and differently abled communities, journals must reimagine the traditional structure of submissions or even the role of literary spaces. Editors will share their experience of how they re-visioned journals or differently approached the editing process Friday at 1:30, Gold Salon 2 in the Marriott on the 1st Floor

Two Ecotone contributors in this remembrance:
Remembering Claudia Emerson. (Emilia Phillips,  Jill McCorkle,  Alan Shapiro,  Kathleen Graber) Claudia Emerson’s death in late 2014 grieved her friends and her readers. This event features panelists remembering her spirit and her work and inviting audience members to participate by also reading her poems so that her single voice resonates through a chorus of witnesses. The panelists focus on her posthumous books, The Opposite House and The Impossible Bottle. Friday at 1:30: Room 403 B, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

This one place-based AND stars two Ecotone contributors:
The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide. (Christopher Cokinos,  Eric Magrane) More than 50 writers respond to the stunning biodiversity of one of the world’s most important deserts. From serious to comic, postmodern to narrative, this community produced an anthology as varied as the desert itself. Editors and contributors will do brief readings, followed by a discussion of the processes behind creating a unique book that combines, for the first time, anthologizing creative work with (playful) natural history descriptions and illustrations found in traditional field guide. Saturday at noon: Robert Muroff Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One

We hope to see you at one of these events or at the bookfair table or totally soaking in some sun waiting in line outside of a taco truck. Travel safe to L.A.!

News Roundup

Friends, spring is springing here in coastal Carolina, and along with it: Ecotone and Lookout writers are in full bloom, sprouting up all over the internet with fabulous projects, opening their leafy arms for literary embraces. Are we getting carried away with this metaphor? See what they’re up to and I think you’ll agree that it should have gone on much longer.

IMG_1300Before we start, we’d like to share some pictures of Ecotone and Lookout in the wild, to add some spring color to this post. Look! It’s Ecotone poetry editor Stephanie Trott, who found a rare Issue 3 at Powell’s Books in Portland. And, farther down, Matthew Neill Null finds himself in some great company at Housing Works Bookstore in NYC.

Okay, first up, Ecotone contributor Rick Bass has a new story collection out. Here he is talking about the art of the short story on NPR. And Smith Henderson reviews the collection for the NYTBR here, saying, “One long proposal of chemical magic, the fantastic origin of the very color blue, and Bass has situated us at the intersection of science and another kind of terrestrial alchemy.”

Speaking of magic, Ecotone contributor and soon-to-be Lookout author (more on that very soon!) Clare Beams is talking about magic over on the Ploughshares blog. “I turned some kind of corner as a writer when I started letting inexplicable things happen in my fiction,” she says. And we can’t wait to show you exactly what she means!

UnknownSpeaking of inexplicable things, if you’re up for hearing about “Haunted Souls and Public Hangings”–and we hope you are–join Lookout author Matthew Neill Null at the Virginia Festival of the Book this weekend. He’s giving a talk with Glenn Taylor at the New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville (404 E. Main Street) at 12 p.m., Saturday, March 19.

Speaking of Main Street, are everyday problems getting you down? Do you need some hilarious, practical, and sensitive advice? You’ve probably heard Lookout author Steve Almond on the Dear Sugar podcast with Cheryl Strayed, but you might not know that he does a regular advice column for Cognoscenti called “Heavy Meddle,” where he tackles all sorts of advice from “My In-Laws Are On The Warpath Over Our Baby’s Name” to “It’s Been 2 Years Since My Wedding and I Still Haven’t Sent ‘Thank You’ Cards” to “I Don’t Know How to Live Without My Dying Cat.” Sad, surreal, and totally helpful.

Speaking of music (I’m referring, ahem, to the “heavy metal” inference above), Ecotone contributor Dom Flemons has a fantastic piece about Thomas A. Dorsey, the inventor of modern gospel music, in the Oxford American. “He wrote songs like a bluesman because he was a bluesman. And he taught choirs to sing that way: calling to God, guided by the musical structure of the blues.”

Speaking of public transportation (okay, we weren’t, but grant me one rough transition, okay?) Ecotone contributor Brock Clarke has a great story online at the Kenyon Review called “The Bus.” It’s a wild and totally entertaining ride!

LinehanAnd last but not least, and bringing it back to spring flowers!: The winner of the 2016 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction contest has been announced! Karen Smith Linehan won for her essay “Magnolia grandiflora.” Final judge Kate Sweeney says of the essay, “There is a sense here that every phrase and every word is chosen with great intent, and taken together, the work conveys the magnitude of this tree in a voice that is, like the tree itself, both quiet and commanding.” The contest is hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network and administered by UNCW’s creative writing department. She’ll receive a $1,000 prize. We can’t wait to read it–congrats, Karen!

We hope your week is filled with growing things both tangible and not. Enjoy the coming spring, and we’ll see you at the next Roundup!

News Roundup

We’re taking the long view in this week’s Roundup, folks. We hope you’re in for the long haul, because–long story short–we’re going to take a long, hard look at some good news. This post will be filled with long-ing.

Up first? Some long lists! We’re thrilled for Lookout author Matthew Neill Null, whose debut novel, Honey from the Lion, made the long list for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize in the “Prince of Tides Literary Prize” category, where he is joined by Ecotone contributors Ron Rash and Karen E. Bender. The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance renamed their book awards this year after Mr. Conroy. Wanda Jewell, SIBA’s Executive Director, said, “We have long wanted a sexier more marketable name for our book awards, and nothing is sexier than Mr. Conroy!” We’re resurrecting a photo of Matt with Mr. Conroy himself–signing over a copy of Honey.

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The 2016 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award long list has also been announced–with a prize of £30,000, it’s the world’s richest prize for a single short story. Lookout author Edith Pearlman made the list for her story “Unbeschert,” and Ecotone and Astoria to Zion contributor Maggie Shipstead did as well, for her story “Backcountry.” They are joined by ten other writers from six different countries.

Ecotone received a nice write-up from Wilmington’s own Star News this week thanks to our inclusion in BuzzFeed’s long list of literary journals that will help you read better. We mentioned that in our last Roundup, but we plan on having a long memory about it.

Indiana Review has a great interview with Ecotone contributor Matthew Gavin Frank who spent fifteen long years inadvertently research his book, The Mad Feast. “I’ve had a lot of strange food-related jobs—ice cream truck driver in Chicago, edible grasshopper trapper in Oaxaca, Mexico, wine cantina floor-mopper in Barolo, Italy.” Matt will have you longing for a copy, and for any word on his new book on pigeons and their role in global diamond smuggling, which he describes as “something like Blood Diamonds bumping-and-grinding with the Audubon Field Guides.”

And last but not least, we hear Ecotone contributor G.C. Waldrep has long-poem-turned-book coming out from BOA Editions called Testament. In defiance of our theme, the reviewer over at the Ploughshares blog says,  “The most concise reference point that occurs to me… is that Waldrep is the closest American poetry comes to Geoffrey Hill, in the music of his language, the range of his erudition, the integrity of his intellect, and the honesty of his doubt.”

That’s the long and short of it this week. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you next time. In the meantime, so long!

News Roundup

There was lots of good news in the halls of Ecotone and Lookout this week, not the least of which is that Lookout author Matthew Neill Null got a starred review from Kirkus for his forthcoming story collection from Sarabande, Allegheny Front. Calling the stories “sometimes lyrical, sometimes scarifying” the reviewer says Matt is “a natural writer with much to say.” We wholeheartedly agree.

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It’s been a big week here for Ecotone! Our Sound issue, pictured here, is hot off the press. We hope you’ll check it out, and keep your eye on the blog for more on the issue, the great stuff inside, and its contributors. We’re also profiling sound-related news and writing on Ecotone‘s Facbook page.

And subscribe, why don’t you? Not convinced? How about the fact that Ecotone made BuzzFeed’s list of twenty-nine literary magazines that will help you read better things. That’s pretty compelling, right? The list includes so many other great magazines, too. We hope you’ll check it out.

In other goings-on this week, Ecotone contributor and all-around-hilarious guy Bill Roorbach is visiting our MFA program this semester, and gave a fantastic reading from his forthcoming story collection last night, watched over by a younger (and smoking) version of himself.

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Bill is also joined by many other Ecotone contributors–including Rick Bass, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Barbara Hurd, Kathryn Miles, and our own founding editor David Gessner–in this forthcoming collection on fracking. Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America brings together over fifty writers to explore “the complexities of fracking through first-hand experience, investigative journalism, story-telling, and verse.” Check out this video for more.

We hope good news abounds in your neck of the woods, too! We’ll see you back here next week for more happy literary things.

News Roundup

In this week’s Roundup, we’re playing a game of quotable contributors! In this game, everybody wins. From envy to Donald Trump to marriage, Ecotone and Lookout authors are talking about all sorts of things on the Internet this week. Here are our favorite morsels to challenge and inspire you.

Ecotone contributor Molly Antopol has a conversation with Sophie McManus over at Pixelated. Sophie asks how Molly gets inside her character’s heads and she says, “It’s much easier for me to write about the things I’m really upset about, terrified of, etc. when I can look at them through the lens of someone very different from myself. Basically my sweet spot in writing is cranky, middle-aged Jewish men. But nothing in writing comes easily for me, unfortunately! These stories took FOREVER.”

Ecotone contributor John Jeremiah Sullivan has a conversation over at Chapter 16 with Susannah FeltsAsked about if the topics and people he’s written about in the past pop back of for him, he replies: “All subjects come back, both to haunt and to goad you. The best ones do it the most. That’s one of the ways you recognize them. By best, I mean the subjects that trouble you in a deep enough way to sustain you.”

Ecotone contributor Sarah Manguso takes on envy in her author’s note in the New York Times. Smartly putting things in perspective, she says, “The purpose of being a serious writer is not to express oneself, and it is not to make something beautiful, though one might do those things anyway. Those things are beside the point. The purpose of being a serious writer is to keep people from despair. If you keep that in mind always, the wish to make something beautiful or smart looks slight and vain in comparison.”

Lookout author Steve Almond, always ready with the most helpful advice, has some hilarious tips in the Boston Globe for talking to your kids when they inevitably bring up Donald Trump. “Remember that your child has not yet learned to draw a clear line between fantasy and reality. She may not understand the difference between the monsters encountered in fairytales and the bloated, orange-faced creature bellowing polls numbers at her on the television.”

Ecotone contributor Delaney Nolan has a story up on Electric Literature‘s Recommended Reading. Here’s one of the characters on his marriage: “Natalie and I used to fight a lot, before. Regular marriage fights—I pretend to laugh too often; she criticizes me too much. I wouldn’t say we had issues, but we’d gotten married in our twenties, and after two decades together even our thinnest problems had had time to accumulate into thicker, heavier ones, like stacks of plastic transparencies that eventually stop being transparent. But when the sand started to come up and cover everything and everybody, the fighting sort of died off.”

We hope these quotables have given you something to think about, and we hope your week ahead is filled with all sorts of inspiration things you can’t wait to write down. Oh, and if you’re looking for more inspiration, don’t forget to follow Ecotone (@ecotonemagazine) and Lookout (@lookoutbooksuncw) on Instagram!

News Roundup

the_family_coverWe’re going to tackle recognition as the common thread tying together this week’s roundup of Ecotone and Lookout news. Ecotone contributor Jeff Sharlet took some e-mail bait this week and wrote back to a writer demanding an audience for his work, in this powerful and thoughtful essay for LitHub. “We read by hope and hint and free association, because publishing isn’t a meritocracy, it’s a vast, often unjust and always clumsy empire of too many words, including our own,” Jeff says, and ain’t it the truth. Those competing forces–to read, to write, to publish–are often so hard to balance.

w204In part, it’s why this column exists–to recognize the writers in our family who are getting the publications and awards and attention they so deserve. We like to toot their horns ever-louder. Which isn’t to say that it’s only the writers who win the awards or the grants who deserve our attention–we know that’s not the case, and we love championing work in Ecotone and Lookout from writers just starting out or writers whose voices have had trouble finding the right home for their work. But as Jeff so rightly points out (writing at one point about the incredibly talented Vievee Francis, also an Ecotone contributor)–the writers who succeed write, and often struggle to keep writing. For years, very often, before the publications or awards come, if they come at all. And when the recognition for those persevering writers does come, that’s something worth celebrating.

9781555977283Today we’re honored to honor writers who are getting, this week, the recognition they’re due after so much hard work. We hope you’ll click through and read something if you’re not familiar with them.

Ecotone contributor Callan Wink’s forthcoming story collection, Dog Run Moon, has gotten some great attention this week in this preview of 2016 story collections from Barnes and Noble. His story, “Off the Track,” was published back in Ecotone 14, and we’re so happy to see Callan’s book coming out these years later–check out the story on our website.

forest-primevalPaul Lisicky’s memoir, The Narrow Door, a story of friendship and art and so many other things, continues to garner praise from various media outlets. To celebrate its release, we’ve made the first chapter, “Volcano,” from our Anniversary issue, available via Ecotone’s site.

Vievee Frances, mentioned in Jeff’s essay, got some other much-deserved attention this week. Her book Forest Primeval is a finalist for the 2016 PEN Open Book Award. You can read one of her poems from the book on Ecotone‘s site here.

Pearlman_HoneydewYou all know what champions we are of Edith Pearlman’s work, having published Binocular Vision in 2011. We’re thrilled to see that her new collection of stories, Honeydew, made the Story Prize long list on Saturday.

The Virginia Festival of the Book, recognizing authors and books for twelve years now,  announced this year’s events, including a panel with Lookout author Matthew Neill Null called “Haunted Souls and Public Hangings.” See the full lineup of panels and activities here.

And the NEA announced its fall Literature Fellows–we’re so proud to see Ecotone contributors Vedran Husic and David Philip Mullins on the list.

Whether you’re feeling recognized or not, whether you’re waiting for some props or writing in a secret quiet space, we hope the reading and writing are bringing you great joy and satisfaction this week. We know it can be hard. Trust us. Keep fighting to say what you need to say, and we hope to see your work soon.

News Roundup

It’s been a week of wild weather for most of the country, and wild things have been happening for Ecotone folks too.

Paul Lisicky is getting RAVE reviews for his memoir, The Narrow Door, released last week, a section of which appears in our Anniversary issue. This book is about the big stuff: friendship, for sure, but also “Writing. The chaos of sexuality. Competition and envy, dying and grieving. The high (unrealistic?) expectations we have of those we love, with our needs becoming so great we drive them away.” Check out the full NYT review, and then get your hands on a copy.

Ecotone‘s founder, David Gessner, recently hosted a one-hour episode of National Geographic’s “Explorer: Call of the Wild,” which discusses how “As humans become more addicted to technology and withdrawn from nature, our brains are becoming rewired.” Here’s a short clip of David from the show.

 

Awards are wild for our contributors! Hearty congrats to National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Lauren Groff, and to Wendell Berry, recipient of the Book Critics’ Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award!

On a very sad note, farewell to Eva Saulitis, who died in Alaska last week. Eva was a passionate advocate for orcas, Prince William Sound, and all things wild, as well as beautiful and immensely talented writer. Eva’s work appeared in Ecotone 15,  but we’d like to share this podcast from Orion, in which she reads an essay that appeared in their March/April 2014 issue.

We hope your week is filled with less shoveling (we didn’t get a flake here on the coast, we’re sad to say!) and more of wonderful wild things. Thanks for tuning in!

News Roundup

This is our first Roundup post of the new year, so we thought we’d focus on beginnings today. Hopefully your 2016 is off to a fantastic, resolution-killing start! Here’s what some Lookout authors have been up to this year.

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Matthew Neill Null, Lookout’s debut novelist, has another new book forthcoming this year. His story collection, Allegheny Front (from Sarabande Books), made The Millions’ list of most anticipated 2016 books, and it included a mention of Honey from the Lion to boot. Matt also recently had a piece on the Paris Review daily about the novels of Henry de Motherlant. Though out of fashion now, Matt argues that they’re the perfect books for our confused age. If you’re looking to begin again with something tried-and-true in 2016, this may be the place to start.

Steve Almond has just been named the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at UMass Lowell for 2016. Steve says, “I love more than anything the chance to spread the gospel of literature on a campus with such a rich tradition.” Those students are lucky to have him this year.

Clare Beams, Lookout’s newest family member (more on that soon!), puts 2016 in perspective with a look at some literary beginnings on the Ploughshares blog. About the new year Clare says, “The newness it represents feels invisible to me, no matter the countdowns and music and noisemakers piled on it—a threshold in the air, a line that’s there because we say it is. I’m always so aware of being my same old self, beneath the party hat, behind the confetti.” But the six novel beginnings she looks at are ones you can really get behind.

Here’s to all sorts of new beginnings in the year ahead, literary and otherwise. We hope your week is filled with all the newness, novelty, and fresh starts you’re up for.

 

 

News Roundup

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The air is filled with best-of lists, Pushcart nominations, and NEA grants! And magic, of course: in the form of Christmas music, too many cookies, and implausible stories we tell our children. In honor of how fiction enriches our lives, this week’s roundup has a list of years-end honors received by Lookout authors and Ecotone contributors who tell us tall tales.

We’ll start with a heavy hitter: the New York Times list of 100 Notable Books features Lookout author Edith Pearlman, and Ecotone contributor Lauren Groff. And we love this list from NPR Books which features Groff again, of course, and contributors Claire Vaye Watson, Toni Tipton-Martin, and Jim Shepard among a slew of other really fantastic choices.

We’re grateful to Jodi Paloni who curated a list of the year’s top short stories for the Quivering Pen’s Best of the Year Short Stories. Melissa Pritchard’s “Carnation Milk Palace” from Ecotone joins stories by fellow Ecotone contributors Ann Beattie, Bill Roorbach, and lots of other greats.

Huge thanks to the good folks at At Length for their Pushcart nomination of “Where Judges Walk,” part of Matthew Neill Null’s novel from Lookout, Honey from the Lion.

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded their fall fellowships for creative writers, and we’re so happy for Ecotone contributor Vedran Husic.

Speaking of Santa Claus, Ecotone contributor Clare Beams has a post up on the Ploughshares blog on historical fiction. She says, “The past I want to read and write about is always the kind alive enough to frighten.” Which is why we love her writing so. And perhaps the holidays, too. Is the idea of a man coming down your chimney not more than a little bit frightening?

Thanks, as always, for reading. We’ll be back with roundup in the new year. In the meantime, here’s hoping your season is filled with the best-of everything! Including stories.