Content Tagged ‘Clare Beams’

A Very Lookout Halloween

Clare Beams’s debut collection, We Show What We Have Learned, hit the shelves this week, and we’re looking forward to her launch party as part of UNCW’s Writers’ Week, Halloween night in Wilmington, Lookout’s hometown. The stories are rich with haunting imagery, and we thought it might be fun to imagine Clare’s characters out trick-or-treating. Here’s what you’ll need to bring her characters to life in your neighborhood.

corsetA Corset — “Hourglass”

Ingénues at a boarding school who bind themselves to their headmaster’s version of perfection. “From within it, she produced a hollow stiff shell, trailing long tentacular laces…There was a flourish in her wrists as she held it out to me. A new form, right in her hands, ready for the taking.”

A Wedding Dress — “The Drop”

A bride glimpses her husband’s past when she wears his World War II parachute as a gown. “The dress wasn’t bad looking, in Emma’s opinion. It didn’t look much like a parachute unless you had your eyes peeled for the resemblance. The white of it dazzled, as white does. Mrs. Bolland had given it pretty sleeves with points at the wrists, a drop waist that made Lily look streamlined and almost elegant, like something turned on a lathe. Also, a fetching neckline, dipping to a V, just low enough, framing the collarbone.”

bathingbeautiesDepression-era Bathing Costumes — “The Saltwater Cure”

As Amanda Nelson recaps, in Bookriot, in this story “a teenaged boy becomes infatuated with an older woman at the fraudulent health spa run by his mother.” “She was swimming slowly, straight away from him. No bathing cap today: her wet hair was a dark indiscriminate color, like the head of a seal. Rob blundered into the marsh as fast as he could; he hoped to be covered before she noticed the skinniness of his arms and legs…”

Plague Doctor — “Ailments”

In this story, as the starred Kirkus review reads: a young woman becomes obsessed with her sister’s husband, a doctor, during London’s Great Plague. Dr. Creswell’s wife mends his plague-doctor’s coat and his sister-in-law explores the bird-mask he wears, “a clumsy homemade thing of stained and stiff brown leather. Its eyes were a dull red glass, one webbed in small cracks. Down the beak ran a line of stitches. A mouth sewn closed, but smiling slyly.”

Whatever you decide to dress as, everyone at Lookout wishes you happy haunting and safe trick-or-treating!

(Images courtesy Library of Congress.)

Clare Beams goes on Tour!


Clare at her first signing at the Women’s National Book Association-Greater Philly Chapter “Meet the Authors” event last week at Towne Book Center and Café

Lookout’s newest author, Clare Beams, is heading to North Carolina next week in support of her debut collection, We Show What We Have Learned. Her book tour, which includes not only readings but also writing workshops at middle- and high-schools, is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Beams’s tour marks Lookout’s second collaboration with South Arts—the first was with Honey from the Lion author Matthew Neill Null last fall—and provides opportunities to extend her audience to include students and younger readers, and to offer more meaningful and sustained engagement in Lookout’s home state.

Educational presentations will include a class on short story endings at the NC Writers’ Network Conference in Raleigh, a presentation at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines, and a practical workshop on the importance of teaching writing for aspiring K-12 educators as part of UNCW’s Writers’ Week. Beams will also offer writing workshops to students at North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville and Roland-Grise Middle School in Wilmington, through the Department of Creative Writing’s longstanding Writers in Action outreach program.

The UNCW community, including Lookout Books’ faculty and student staff, will celebrate Beams’s book launch on October 31 (Halloween!) at 7 p.m. in conjunction with its annual Writer’s Week (full schedule here). Later that week, Beams will also give readings at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, Main Street Books in Greensboro, and Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, where she will be joined by author April Ayers Lawson for a discussion about their highly anticipated debut collections. Listen for her on WUNC’s The State of Things with Frank Stasio on Friday, Nov. 4.

Her full tour schedule, including readings in Boston, Falmouth, and Washington, D.C., can be found on her website. And if you’re in Pittsburgh, you won’t want to miss Clare’s hometown book launch, Tuesday, October 25, 7 p.m., at the new White Whale Bookstore.

Ecotone + Lookout Deal, Plus Clare Beams in O, the Oprah Magazine!

We’re getting closer and closer to publication day for We Show What We Have Learned by Clare Beams! If you’re a fan of Lookout and  (and we hope you are), we’ve got a great special going on. Receive a one-year subscription to Ecotone and a copy of We Show What We Have Learned  for over 25 percent off the cover price. For just $25, you’ll receive two issues of Ecotone as well as Beams’s collection, due out in October 2016.
In other exciting news, O, the Oprah Magazine, has named We Show What We Have Learned one of “10 Titles to Pick Up Now.” In their micro-review, the magazine’s editors write, “This debut collection is full of promise and surreal delight. In the shocking title tale, a teacher falls to pieces in front of her class, not emotionally or metaphorically, but literally. We hope there’s much more to come from this writer.” Subscribe to the November iPad edition to read the first ten pages of the collection, or check out the full list of books in this month’s print issue.

Goodreads Giveaway – We Show What We Have Learned

Like free books? We will be giving away fifteen preview copies of Clare Beams’s debut story collection, We Show What We Have Learned, on Goodreads! Here’s how it works:

  • Jump on Goodreads to enter.
  • The giveaway is open from Monday, October 3, until Thursday, October 18.
  • Follow the instructions on Goodreads and sit tight. They’ll announce winners when the giveaway closes on October 18. Fifteen lucky people will receive copies of We Show What We Have Learned.
  • We’d love to hear from you! Please post a review on Goodreads, or e-mail us directly at to tell us what you think.


We Show What We Have Learned hits shelves on October 25 and is available for pre-order now via Lookout’s website. Check back here–or Lookout’s Instagram account @LookoutBooksUNCW–for a new digital broadside every Tuesday leading up to the book’s release.

News Roundup: Not Feeling Listless

Fall is finally here, and along with it–and pumpkin spicing and starting to wear socks and breaking out the cardigans–comes lists of what to read this fall. We’re thrilled to find Ecotone and Lookout mentioned in a bunch of different lists. (And, for one more list, check back to the blog Monday to see the full roundup of Ecotone‘s Best American reprints and notables!)

Matt Broderick, the Review Review Reviews Editor (say that five times fast) introduced his list of lit mag journal editors sharing love, with this lovely thought, “One of my favorite things about this community of writers and editors is our willingness to give each other pats on the back and high fives for work well done.” He talked to a few editors he admires to find out which journals are on their radar, and we were excited that Chicago Review of Books Editor-in-Chief, Adam Morgan, mentioned Ecotone as one of his favorite lit mags.

national-reading-group-month-selections-400x600Over at Book Riot, Aram Mrjoian rounds up a list of  “5 Lit Journals for Readers Who Love a Sense of Place,” and Ecotone tops the list. Aram says, “We naturally expect and desire for stories to transport us, to teach us about the specifics of an unfamiliar environment, and that our preconceived notions of the physical world will automatically skew our perception of what we read on the page.” We love the idea that Ecotone helps readers grapple with that kind of transportation and perception, and are so grateful to make the list.

On the site My Booket List, they’re kicking off their book club to celebrate National Reading Group Month by partnering with the Women’s National Book Association (Greater Philadelphia Chapter) to suggest a list of “fun, inspirational, and page-turning books” including Lookout’s We Show What We Have Learned by Clare Beams. Check out these other three books on the list, and head on over to their site if you want to join in the conversations.

The Masters Review has a fantastic list of seven upcoming fall titles they’re excited about, including our very own Clare Beams yet again. Clare joins other debuts from Anne Valente and Derek Palacio, along with Zadie Smith’s wildly anticipated new novel. We love the succinct plug in their description. “We love Lookout Books, and we love a good debut collection.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

We hope this list of lists has helped cure any listlessness or even any listing to the right or left. There are so many good things coming for you to read. Ge thee to a list and start making your way through it!

News Roundup

beamd3dcroplbWe’re rounding up this week’s Lookout and Ecotone contributor news with thoughts about the great white whale we all chase. If you squint, you’ll see him showing up throughout this post. Here we go!

We’re getting closer and closer to the release of We Show What We Have Learned by Lookout author Clare Beams, and so much good feedback is rolling in. The East End Book Exchange, where Clare is having her launch, is re-branding itself as a store focusing on new titles and getting a new name–The White Whale–and they mention Clare’s book in their Littsburgh interview about it! “It’s a short story collection that’s at times creepy, at times surreal, and wholly engrossing.”

James Scott (Clare’s issue editor at One Story) has a podcast called TK, and Janet Geddis of Avid Bookstore in Athens was on the show to talk about fall books! She discusses the whale of an endeavor that is opening an independent bookstore, and both her and James have some really lovely things to say about Lookout and WSWWHL, including about its cover. Definitely check out the whole episode and James’s other interviews.


We’re absolutely thrilled for long-time Ecotone contributor Brad Watson, whose new novel Miss Jane was named as a finalist for the white whale of literary prizes. Check out Brad and all of the other great writers on the National Book Award long list.

Ecotone issue 20 contributor, Anya Groner, has a piece out in Guernica: “Healing the Gulf with Buckets and Balloons.” Groner discusses how her group’s efforts to use balloons to map the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill shifted the paradigm from citizen science to community science. She explains, “Instead of answering a researcher’s questions, community science empowers ordinary people ask their own scientific questions and follow through with data collection and analysis.” There’s a whale reference to me made somewhere here, I’m sure.

And finally, we celebrate some new writing from Belle Boggs, whose book The Art of Waiting has been making a whale of a splash for the past few weeks. This essay from the New Yorker is all about the book that taught Belle what she wanted to teacher her daughter. She was fantastic on WUNC’s The State of Things (listen here), and there’s even more to be found from Belle on NPR and the Powell’s bookstore blog.

Whatever you’re up to this week, we hope you’re chasing some suitably challenging but approachable whale, and we wish you all the luck in catching it! See you next week.

News Roundup (Let’s Go Back to the Future)

Hi, folks! It’s been a little while since we’ve posted a News Roundup. We were busy, we confess, enjoying the last days of summer before school started up again. But now we’re back in the thick of it, and since we have some catching up to do, we’re christening this post the Back to the Future Roundup. With the aid of a literary-minded DeLorean, we’re going to time travel through various points of recent interest.

We+Show+What+We+Have+Learned+coverLet’s begin with Clare Beams, the author of Lookout’s forthcoming story collection, We Show What We Have Learned. One of the stories was featured on Kenyon Review Online, so you can get yourself a taste before October 25 when the book comes out. The whole collection is great, of course, but don’t take our word for it! It was featured on LitHub’s “Great Booksellers Fall 2016 Preview” this very week! And Steph Opitz, the book review editor for Marie Claire, talked it up on a recent episode of The Lit Up Show. “In every story, it feels like something is lurking right around you, but you never really get to it…. It’s creepy and the writing is so beautiful … you feel angry and obsessed and intrigued … I just absolutely loved it.” We suggest listening to the the full podcast, since all the recommended books sound incredible.

Now let’s go way back to June, and knowing that a trip so far back can be traumatic, Nullcover3Dwebsitewe present this fascinating interview with Ecotone contributor Adrienne Celt with writer Esmé Weijun Wang on “The Inheritance of Trauma.” Adrienne says, “Because my paternal grandparents lived in Munich (after WWII, Poland was occupied by the USSR, so many loyal nationalists chose to leave, and my grandparents went to Munich to work for Radio Free Europe), I didn’t know them well, and the stories about them always felt distant to me—I wanted to know more.” Which sounds like something Marty McFly might have said about his parents…before he almost made out with his mom.

Also in June, Lookout Author Matthew Neill Null sat in the hot seat with the Millions, to talk some of his favorite writers, West Virginia stories, and–coincidentally?–“living in a world with no future.” Matt also had a new story in the Harvard Review over the summer. The story contains a scene Matt cut from his novel with Lookout, Honey from the Lion, 9781555977498about an elk with a toothsome liver “bigger than a baby.” We’re glad he found a place for that line, in the future.

And we’re thrilled for fellow Lookout author Ben Miller, who received a research grant from the Schlesinger Library that will send him back to the future (or Harvard) in 2017.

Now we’ll speed through months of Belle Boggs news, beginning first with her fabulous essay for LitHub, “Writer, Mother, Both, Neither” back in June and flying to this past week’s New York Times book review of The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood. Reviewer Jennifer Senior calls the book, “a corrective and a tonic, a primer and a dispeller of myths.” Ecotone published two essays of Belle’s over the last couple of years, and we can’t wait for the release of the book later this week.

In other Ecotone contributor news, Rebecca Makkai had a conversation with Louise Erdrich in early summer, “You Are the Book You’re Writing,” which was the backup title for Back to the Future, incidentally (or could have been). Zeina Hashem Beck’s collection 3arabi Song is now available from Rattle. “The voices in (this collection) 3arabiCovwant to mourn for loved ones and broken homelands, but they also want to sing.”

Two new books of poetry are available from issue Megan Snyder-Camp. Poetry. The Gunnywolf is the winner of the 2016 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize. “Megan Snyder-Camp’s third collection of poems, takes its title from an obscure folk tale about a wolf that scares little girls for their songs. Aiming to articulate what has been hiding in plain sight, Snyder-Camp considers whiteness, environmental racism, the Baltimore protests, mothering, and the everyday wilderness of modern-day life.” The second collection, Wintering, is available from Tupelo Press.

9781555977467(That’s a lot of singing from those last few titles, and none of it, we’d like to point out, from Huey Lewis and the News.)

The Star Tribune reviewed Issue 21 contributor Angela Palm’s memoir, Riverine, winner of this year’s Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, an essay of which appeared in Ecotone. From the review by Lauren LaBlanc: “Palm confronts questions such as whether or not geography determines fate. If we can reroute a river, can we ever escape the isolation of poverty? How can we transcend our surroundings?”

We hope you enjoyed this very fast trip through recent Lookout and Ecotone history, and that your long weekend is filled with all of the time travel, 80s music, and plutonium you can possible handle. See you next week!




Lookout’s Next Title!

We Show What We Have Learned final coverYou may have heard the news by now, but we wanted to do an official announcement here on the blog: we’re thrilled to broadcast the details about Lookout’s next book, the debut story collection, We Show What We Have Learned, by Clare Beams. The stories blend the fantastic, the historic, and the literary, and capture the true strangeness of being human. From bewildering assemblies in school auditoriums to the murky waters of a Depression-era health resort, Beams’s landscapes are tinged with otherworldliness, and her characters’ desires stretch the limits of reality.

Clare’s editor here at Lookout, Beth Staples, published the title story from the collection years ago during her time at Hayden’s Ferry Review, and was even more excited to work with Clare on a newer story for Ecotone, called “Granna.” The success of that relationship, and the Ecotone/Lookout team’s enthusiasm for Clare’s work, led to the acquisition of this fabulous collection. And now, after many months of editing, publicizing, designing, and planning, we’re all so excited for October 25, when the book will make its way to readers.

We’re not the only ones excited. In a starred review Kirkus calls the collection, “A richly imagined and impeccably crafted debut.” Publishers Weekly adds, “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.” And Amanda Nelson of Book Riot says, “These stories are angry and odd, and I loved them.” Head to Clare’s website to read all the love, including quotes from Joyce Carol Oates, Chang-Rae Lee, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Mary Laura Philpott of Parnassus Books, and Rachel Richardson of Hub City Writers Project.

We’ll be giving all of the details about Clare’s tour and reading schedule shortly, but you can have a look at what’s planned so far here. We’re also so excited that Clare will be here in Wilmington as part of UNCW’s Writers’ Week.

And you don’t have to wait until October 25 to find your copy–you can preorder the collection now. We hope it will delight, challenge, and surprise you in all the best ways.

News Roundup

As the school year ends and launches us into summer, and as the face of Helen is said to have launched a thousand ships, this week we have literary launches galore. I don’t know whether that sentence is entirely sensical, but in the spirit of launches–moments at the intersection of optimism and uncertainty–I’m going to let it stand–and springboard us into this week’s launch news!

Lookout’s forthcoming story collection, We Show What We Have Learned by Clare Beams, is right now making its way out to booksellers, reviewers, and other taste makers. We were happy to reveal this week, through our Instagram account @lookoutbooksuncw, a full preview of the press kit. Here’s one view of the process. Head on over to Instagram to see the rest, and the final kits.


Lookout author Matthew Neill Null has had an exciting week! His short story collection, Allegheny Front (Sarabande), launched on Tuesday. His story, “Gauley Season,” part of the collection, was featured on Electric Lit‘s “Recommended Reading” this week, and  Matt will be in conversation next week with Sam Lipsyte at McNally Jackson in NYC, talking about the book and his relationship to West Virginia.  If you’re not in the big apple (or, ahem, don’t want to launch yourself over there), you can read Matt’s awesome essay about writing about the “real” West Virginia over on Lit Hub.

9781594633010Former Pub Lab TA and Ecotone designer Garrard Conley also launched a book this week. Boy Erased tells the story of Garrard’s experience in ‘Ex Gay’ therapy. He discusses the book, his family, and his time at UNCW over at Electric Literature.

We’re also thrilled for Ecotone contributor Rebecca Gayle Howell who has been launched into a new position as senior editor of the Oxford American.

We hope your weekend is launching you into fun a productive activities. We’ll see you at the next Roundup!