Content Tagged ‘Clare Beams’

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!

Announcing Lookout’s New Title!

The Lookout Books team is thrilled to introduce our next book, We Show What We Have Learned, a debut story collection from author Clare Beams. As imaginative and compelling as they are emotionally complex, these nine exquisitely unsettling stories blend the fantastic, the historic, and the literary to capture the true strangeness of what it means to be human.

Clare Beams website

Already some of our favorite writers are loving the book. Caitlin Horrocks says, “Clare Beams is a magician, and each of these stories is a muscular, artful haunting.” Change-Rae Lee says, “In gorgeous prose that thrills, instructs, and thoroughly inspires, Clare Beams obliterates the ‘dividing line between possibilities and impossibilities,’ showing how our passions can rule with reality-bending magic.”

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 to delight, surprise, and provoke: Ingénues at a boarding school bind themselves to their headmaster’s vision of perfection; a nineteenth-century landscape architect embarks on his first major project, but finds the terrain of class and power intractable; a bride glimpses her husband’s past when she wears his World War II parachute as a gown; and a teacher comes undone in front of her astonished fifth graders.

Clare Beams bookmark for Beth postFour of these nine stories take place in schools. “I began to see the common themes and threads that tie these stories together,” Clare said. “Their concern with the shaping of selves has a lot to do with my time in the classroom.” These are complex characters, and their vulnerabilities are made manifest in all their messy beauty. From the mercurial space between girlhood and adulthood to a matriarch coming to terms with her legacy, these stories show us women grappling with power and legacy, prompting Joyce Carol Oates to call Clare “a female/feminist voice for the twenty-first century.”

This gorgeous cover, designed by Lookout publisher and art director Emily Smith, features art from Andrea Wan. We think it’s the perfect complement to Clare’s rare and capacious imagination. Find more of Andrea’s work on her website.

We can’t wait to share the full collection with you on October 25. These stories appear in Ecotone, One Story, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading and are forthcoming in the Common and online at the Kenyon Review this summer. In the meantime, we hope you’ll head to Clare’s brand-new website designed by the Lookout student staff, where you can read more about her and pre-order a copy of the book. And like her Facebook page and follow her @clarebeams on Twitter, too!

Going to AWP this week? We’ll be taking pre-orders at table 919 at the bookfair and giving out these beautiful bookmarks.

We’re so excited to welcome Clare to the Lookout family!

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

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.

Making a List: Five Halloween Costumes from the Guts of Ecotone

Halloween is just days away. Maybe you’ve been planning a costume for months, maybe you’re putting on the finishing touches, but if you’re a costume procrastinator (ahem, like me), I bet that right about now you’re scrambling to pull something together. And if you’re a literature lover, then a book-themed, favorite-character-driven guise is probably your go-to.

But let’s be real—you want something other than your typical literary costume: Alice and the Mad Hatter, Dorothy and the Scarecrow (or the Lion, Tin Man, or Toto), Harry Potter, Red Riding Hood, Frankenstein. So over the past couple of days, I’ve browsed my Ecotone collection, and here are the results—five costume ideas that jumped out at me from the pages of my favorite issues. I hope to see some of these on Halloween—and if we’ve caught you a little too frighteningly close for this year’s All Hallows’ Eve, then go ahead and bookmark one for next year!

  1. Why not go as Granna, from Clare Beams’s story in issue 17? Sure, her knuckles are swollen and pearly as knobs, but all you really need in order to pull of this illusion is a nightgown—one that reflects a certain kind of ageless glimmer, like a moth’s wings.
  1. If you’re in need of a little comedy on the spookiest night of the year, then perhaps a good choice would be Amy Leach’s Modern Moose. Dress in rich shades of brown and decorate your antlers with one of the following: a pill-box hat or trinket horns, party horns, flirty horns. Or go all out and dress in sleek Armani horns.
  1. Maybe you like something a little more on-the-nose. If that’s the case, then do some quick research on Egyptian mummification. Dress as Lee Upton’s “participatory mummy” and let someone unravel you. Don’t worry—if they look confused, just surprise them by saying “Hello! I am saying hello! Because that is what I do when I say hello!”
  1. With the primaries just around the corner, and no opportunity for an Andrew Tonkovich–inspired Reelection Day, get a group of fellow citizens together and go as ghostly voters. Any combination will do—a female soldier, four bikers, a lost father and his children, a band of cyclists. Just be ready to show proof of residency, or some other evidence of eligibility, as you and your crew hit the town.
  1. Perhaps you’re taking your pet to the local pet costume parade, and you’re feeling a little guilty about stuffing poor Fido in that polyester hot dog for the fourth year in a row. Why not make it feel like a brand New Animal, courtesy of Douglas Watson? With just a few tweaks, your pet could be looking like a winner as a miniature racehorse with a jet-black coat and a docile nature—an idea you can feel good betting on.

Have another freakishly delightful costume idea from the Ecotone archives? Send it our way!

–Ryan Kaune, Ecotone Fiction Editor

News Roundup

SFB2015poster_CageFreeVisual_0It’s a festival weekend, folks! Though we’re disappointed we won’t be at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, we hope that everyone who is going will stop by John F. Blair’s booth to check out our titles and to meet Matthew Neill Null, or find him on the panel “Whiskey-Bent and Gallows-Bound: Novels of Turn-of-the-Century West Virginia” (what a mouthful!). Speaking of mouthfuls, have some hot chicken for us while you’re there, will you? Maybe one of the many Ecotone contributors in attendance will join you. Keep an eye out for Rick Bragg, Ansel Elkins, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Lauren Groff, Ron Rash, David Shields, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Benjamin Percy. We also highly recommend a stop at Parnassus, where co-owner Ann Patchett is hosting a special welcome for those Friday morning visitors who stop in on their way downtown to the Festival!

Our festival of literary news includes lots of great goings-on this week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named Matthew Neill Null’s Honey from the Lion one of twelve best Southern books to read this fall! “Beyond the high-profile returns of veterans like Mary Karr or Mary Gaitskill, the season brings engrossing new work . . . Here’s a peek at 12 of fall’s legends and future MVPs.”

Ecotone contributor Clare Beams has this great post, “Literary Teachers and Their Lessons,” on the Ploughshares blog, and Lauren Groff wrote about her inspiration, Virginia Woolf, in the Atlantic.

9781555977283We’re excited about two new books by Ecotone contributors. Comic artist Melanie K. Gillman’s Nonbinary is reviewed at Women Write About Comics. And Paul Lisicky’s new memoir coming out from Graywolf, The Narrow Door, got this great review from Kirkus. An excerpt of the book appeared in Ecotone 19, our anniversary issue.

If you’re looking to be an Ecotone contributor, we’re open to submissions again, as of October 1. Why not send us something?

We hope your coming weekend is filled with the festival spirit, in your heart or in your books. Enjoy the festival of falling leaves this weekend too, if your in a place where that happens. Thanks for celebrating with us!