Content Tagged ‘Edith Pearlman’

News Roundup: Launch Week!

It was an especially exciting week at Lookout HQ with the launch of Clare Beams’s story collection, We Show What We Have Learned, on Tuesday. The Lookout team has been hard at work on this amazing book for quite some time, and it’s been fun to see it getting the attention it so deserves. Here are a few of the special places you can read more about it.

14725637_1265480910169567_3165786101765082538_nThe story “All the Keys to All the Doors” was featured in Electric Literature‘s Recommended Reading this week, with a fantastic introduction from Megan Mayhew Bergman: “Upon reading her, you make it to the third or fourth paragraph and realize this is not the restrained narrative you expected, that there is a cutting strangeness and profundity afoot.”

Clare got a bunch of love in Pittsburgh, the town she calls home, including this interview in the Pittsburgh City Paper, this review in the Pittsburgh Tribune, and a packed release party at the White Whale Bookstore.


And if you haven’t heard by now, she also got love from O, The Oprah Magazine, where it was featured as one of “10 Titles to Pick Up Now.”

This coming week, Wilmington will host its own special launch party for Clare as part of Writers’ Week on Monday night. To read more about it–and the other fabulous writers coming to Wilmington including Mei Fong, Maurice Manning, and Chinelo Okparanta–check out this article from Encore.

Speaking of hometown love, Wilmington’s Salt Magazine did a fabulous profile on Lookout and Honey from the Lion, saying, “The care and adoration 14711067_1260597560657902_1981140058012777635_olavished on a Lookout book is obvious…. French flaps, beautiful graphic design, and tailored page layouts are the hallmarks of a book that someone cares about…. At Lookout, each book radiates that level of care.” And Parnassus Books created this roundup of “Small Presses: Little Gems With Big Impact,” calling out Lookout books by Clare Beams, Edith Pearlman, and Matthew Neill Null. (Thanks, you guys!)

There’s good news for other Lookout authors, too! Matthew Neill Null’s novel, Honey from the Lion, has been named a fiction finalist in the 2016 Massachusetts Book Awards from the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and has sold to Albin Michel for publication in France in 2018. Oui oui!

And Ben Miller, author of the memoir River Bend Chronicle, accepted the Cornell College Leadership & Service Award for “contributions to American literature.” Ben’s acceptance speech is funny and inspiring, and we’re so happy for him.

And there are book launches in the world of Ecotone contributors to boot! Melissa Range’s new poetry collection, Scriptorium, hit the shelves this month. Chosen by Tracy K. Smith for the 2015 National Poetry Series, it’s now available from Beacon Press.

Issue 21 contributor Safiya Sinclair’s book of poetry, Cannibal, which came out last month, got a shout out on Lenny: “Her stanzas will revive you and leave you transformed.”

This is the post that nearly launched a thousand books. We hope your reading all the great new literature you can handle–thanks for checking out ours!

News Roundup

End of the WorldLast night, students in the MFA program here at UNCW hosted their End of the World Reading. School is over, and many of our students–some who have worked so hard on Ecotone and Lookout–are leaving us. We’re sad to see them go, but so excited about the possibilities ahead for them. In honor of this end-of-the-world feeling, and because we have so much good news to share this week, a request: read the following bits of news quickly, and to the tune of REM’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”

Like the whole rest of the world, we were saddened by the death of Prince this week. Ecotone Sound contributor shirlette ammons wrote this tribute for a Triangle-based Indy publication.

“Uh oh, overflow!”

This week saw the first annual Edith Pearlman Creative Writing Award given at Brookline High School. Congrats to Alma Bitran! And to Edith Pearlman, whose work continues to inspire and change us.

Speaking of Lookout authors, Matthew Neill Null’s forthcoming story collection (from Sarabande) was reviewed by the Rumpus this past week, and they had nice things to say about Honey from the Lion too:  “It has become one of the laziest clichés to claim that the place in which a story is set becomes a character in that story. Works of fiction as great as Matthew Neill Null’s epic evocations of West Virginia deserve better.”

“Feeling pretty psyched.”

Ecotone contributor Melissa Pritchard was awarded the 2016 Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers at the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians in Columbus, Georgia. She’ll be living in Carson McCuller’s childhood home for three months this fall.

Ecotone Sustenance issue contributor Toni Tipton-Marton won a James Beard Award this week for her book The Jemima Code (which was excerpted in our issue).

“Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives, and I decline.”

Guernica did a nice interview with Ecotone issue 19 contributor Paul Lisicky, largely about The Narrow Door (we excerpted that too).


Clare Beams, author of Lookout’s forthcoming book We Show What We Have Learned, has a great Ploughshares blog about the difference between flashy short stories and longer ones that go for the “slow reveal.” Also, here’s a photo of Clare holding a galley of her book. So much greatness in one photo!

“Leonard Bernstein!”

Speaking of Ploughshares, this blog post by Ecotone issue 13 contributor Emilia Phillips about lyric essays, and how she turned to them after she had cancer removed from her face, is so very moving.

Ecotone contributors Christopher Cokinos and Eric MaGrane will be doing a reading and discussion about the Sonoran Desert tonight at Tucson’s Antigone Books.

“You symbiotic, patriotic, slam but neck, right? Right.”

Orion is finishing up its national poetry month feature, curated by Ecotone contributor Aimee Nezhukumatathil–photographs of poetry books in the wild. Here’s Anna Lena’s (Ecotone‘s edtitor).

“Birthday party, cheesecake, jellybean, boom.”

Ecotone contributor Shawn Vestal has a novel coming out called Daredevils. Check out this excerpt from LitHub.

I’ll leave you with this final lyric to ponder: “It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone).” Join me back here next week when we’ll start a new world all over with the best news of the week.

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.


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!

Behind the Scenes: How To Be Independent

I’ve worked at a local bookstore as long as I’ve known about UNCW’s Publishing Laboratory. They’re both small, independent, and full of people I want to be when I grow up. They both give loving homes to books that might be ignored at larger institutions.

Store photo blue

But here’s the thing about being small: it takes big effort. Huge, in fact. Let’s just go ahead and call it a gigantic labor of love. Small presses like Lookout compete with larger publishers before the book even makes it to the shelf (if it does that). Most indie publishers have limited budgets from which to offer authors advances for their manuscripts, and it’s not surprising that big numbers consistently compel great writers to sign with the big houses and their imprints.

Even when indie publishers bring great titles into the world (or, like Lookout, only one per year), it’s especially difficult for bookstores to sell the books of small presses. At Pomegranate Books, where I work, we often receive boxes of press kits and advance reading copies for the big books that big publishers want us to stock. Sure, we’d love to shelve every novel by our favorite indie presses, but will those titles move as fast as the mass-marketed books that everyone and their cousin want to read?

Pomegranate Books is small, but even for larger independent stores with more shelf space and more customers, there are different challenges to selling indie books. Trade publishers often offer volume discounts, or additional in-store advertising money to incentivize stocking and prominently displaying their books. So big-publisher books get coveted window display and shelf space even if a bookseller would prefer to give attention to her new favorite by an indie press. The New York Times wrote about this back in 1996, and it’s still a tiresome obstacle.

Instead of advertising money, Lookout offers gratitude to indie bookstores in the form of author visits, signings, and readings in their stores. At Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, Lookout’s publisher and editors tagged along with authors Steve Almond and Matthew Neill Null to offer free publishing workshops and to serve on panels after the authors’ readings. And Lookout celebrates indie stories such as Brookline Booksmith, which to date has sold almost six hundred copies of its first title, Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman! That collection found its way into the hands of hundreds more readers thanks to the generous support of booksellers at Harvard Book Store, Porter Square Books, and Politics & Prose, which hosted Edith Pearlman for one of her first public readings from Binocular Vision.

Millions of books exist in this world—in fact, I encourage everyone to purchase So Many Books by Gabriel Zaid, an exhilarating read published by another indie press, Paul Dry Books—but our store has fewer than five employees. Perhaps, if we had the time and human capital to dedicate regular hours to discovering new books by small presses, we’d be able to better hand sell their books. Instead, we struggle simply to stay up-to-date on the titles brought to our attention through large mailings and marketing budgets.

The better an independent press can convey its mission, purpose, and we-consider-every-little-detail attitude, the more inclined a bookstore’s owners and staff will be to share that appreciation for thoughtfully made books with their customers. It’s extremely difficult to verbalize or advertise that feeling, but Lookout serves as proof that it can work.

These five best practices from Lookout Books include things I wish I saw more of as a bookseller—from every press, big or small.

RiverBendChronicle1.    Authors

Lookout seeks works by emerging and historically underrepresented writers, as well as overlooked gems. Unlike large trade publishers, they aren’t beholden to stockholders or corporate owners, so they tend to be less motivated by profit margins. Bookstores know that they consider their publications works of art by literary artists, not just best-selling retail items (though they hope for that too!).


2.    Marketing

In developing media kits, Lookout makes or buys materials, when they can, from local or independent sellers. If a bookstore receives a promotional kit that includes unique, handmade materials, they’ll be more likely to give it attention. When Lookout staffer Anna Coe created coasters to celebrate the recent release of Matthew Neill Null’s Honey From the Lion, she ordered the wood slices from a supplier on Etsy and personally stamped and sealed every coaster!

Continue Reading

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 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.

News Roundup

busyFriends, it’s been an incredibly busy week here at Ecotone and Lookout HQ. The last week of classes! Finishing up edits on Lookout’s new story collection! Getting ready to upload Ecotone’s fall/winter issue! Buying holiday trees! Our contributors have been busy too. In the spirit of the honoring the busyness in all of us, this week’s roundup is coming at you rapid fire. Ready, set: literature!

Ecotone contributor Jeff Sharlet and collaborator Neil Shea announce a new project with Virginia Quarterly Review: #TrueStory, which will build on the experiments with “Instagram journalism” Neil and Jeff have been making. They start with a dispatch from Meera Subramanian. Each week there’ll be a new selection of reported stories, and they’re looking for submissions. The work will also be published online at VQR, and select essays will appear in the print journal.

In other submission news, submissions are open for the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Contest from the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and first-place winners could potentially see their essays on the pages of Ecotone.

If you’re in the area, Lookout’s debut novelist, Matthew Neill Null,  will read from Honey from the Lion at his alma mater Washington and Lee on December 7 at 7 p.m.

Up for a laugh? At the Rumpus, Lookout author Steve Almond very comically shares his “fan mail” (See those quotes? This mail is full of loathing and violence!) from Against Football and then responds to them.

New work is out from a bunch of Ecotone contributors: Elizabeth T. Gray Jr. has a lovely poem featured on Women’s Voices for Change. Jamie Quatro has a new short story in the Oxford American. Matthew Gavin Frank had part of his new book (about Chicago pizza!) featured in Longreads last week. 

Good news abounds too! Ecotone contributor Toni Tipton-Martin fetched some glowing words from the New York Times for Breaking the Jemima Code. And both Lookout author Edith Pearlman and Ecotone contributor Lauren Groff made the New York Times list of 100 Notable Books of 2015.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve already heard about Claire Vaye Watkins’s amazing essay on the Tin House blog. But if you just crawled out, head on over.

Bam! A slew of amazing reads to keep you busy in your down time. Thanks for taking the time to check in. We hope your week ahead is filled with busyness and rest in perfect balance.


News Roundup

It’s been a week of more rain, inter-cranial pressure changes, and discussions about how to pronounce Joaquin. But also lots of literary goings-on!

51cat7WErgL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_We enjoyed a fantastic discussion late last week between Michael Taeckens and Belle Boggs, about the promotion for her story collection, Mattaponi Queen, and forthcoming book, The Art of Waiting. (You can read her essay, “Imaginary Children,” in Ecotone 17 for a sneak peek of her new book!) The discussion revolved around the perfect cover design (witness Belle’s first cover here, one of Michael’s favorites), whether to hand out character-themed jam at readings or not to, and how to be yourself on social media. We’re so grateful to Michael for all we learned from him as UNCW’s first visiting publishing professional this semester.

Speaking of social media, Ecotone got Instagram! Follow us @EcotoneMagazine (and Lookout’s as well, of course, at LookoutBooksuncw).

Lookout and Ecotone authors have been in the news nearly as much as Hurricane Joaquin this week!

Lookout’s debut novel, Honey from the Lion, has been all over the South, from our home state of North Carolina, to the book’s backdrop, West Virgina. Wilmington’s own Star News called it “a masterful effort, an evocation of a vanished time and place” in this review. The Charleston Gazette Mail says Honey “reads like a thriller, a sweeping epic, and historical fiction at its best.” We couldn’t agree more.

radiolandEcotone contributor and neighbor John Jeremiah Sullivan wrote a fun rock ‘n roll investigation for the Paris Review. Kirkus Reviews 2015 Book Finalists longlist includes Ecotone contributors Lauren Groff and Jim Shepard. We owe congratulations to Ecotone poet and essayist Lesley Wheeler, whose new collection of poetry, Radioland, is available, as of yesterday, from Barrow Street Press. And our own Binocular Vision appeared in the New York Times this week, in this meditation on the intersection of motherhood and gadgetry.

“I was waiting out my twin sons’ soccer practice, reading Binocular Vision, a collection of short stories by Edith Pearlman, on my iPhone. The boys were dribbling their way around cones; I was in the gym bleachers, moved by Pearlman’s meditations on mortality, having a bit of a moment in an unlikely place.”

We hope your week is filled with only the best kinds of storms and unlikely realizations: ones that bring much-needed rain and understanding.

(And: Joaquin. There, we said it one more time!)

West Virginia review