Content Tagged ‘honey from the lion’

News Roundup

All through the next week, friends, there is an embarrassment of riches in our small coastal Carolina town. If you haven’t heard of Wilmington, it’s time to get with two very particular programs: Writers’ Week at UNCW and the film festival Cucalorus, which bring writers and filmmakers to Wilmington in spades.

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All free and open to the public, next week we’ll host readings, panels, craft talks, and demonstrations from Edward P. Jones, Jill McCorkle, Sarah Messer, Tayari Jones, Ilya Kaminsky, James Campbell, agent Peter Steinberg, and book artist Rory Sparks. A panel of UNCW alumni will talk about careers after graduation. And we’ll host a reading and book launch of Honey from the Lion, Lookout’s debut novel from Matthew Neill Null. It’s a week of nonstop activity and inspiration–if you can get here, I’d do it.

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If you’re not yet in the car, let me entice you further: Cucalorus offers an incredible selection of films, and this year launches Cucalorus Connect, which explores entrepreneurship and venture capital through a variety of panels and talks. Ecotone contributor John Jeremiah Sullivan and Ecotone and Lookout publisher Emily Smith are part of the Cucalorus Connect media marriage panel, about the creative and commercial potentials of integrating video and audio into traditionally text-driven publications. The conversation will include Ecotone contributor Jeff Sharlet and his Instagram essay, “A Resourceful Woman,” which is open to readers on our website for a week or so around the festival.

book-refund-storiesWe’ve also got a National Book Award finalist in our midst. Wilmingtonian–and Lookout and Ecotone contributor–Karen E. Bender is on the short list for her fabulous book Refund. Current UNCW MFA student Jonathan Russell Clark interviews her for Lit Hub.

In yet another happy marriage of locals, Ecotone contributor George Singleton has released a new linked story collection from Dzanc Books called Calloustown and UNCW alum Rachel Richardson writes all about it for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

It was a year ago this time when we hosted a community dinner right here in Wilmington to celebrate Ecotone‘s Sustenance issue. We’re so glad to see poet Elizabeth T. Gray Jr.’s fascinating interview with The Cloudy House, in which she discusses her poetry book projects, part of which was featured in that issue.

Whether by plane, train, or automobile, we hope we’ve enticed you to visit Wilmington, full as it is of artistic people and things to do. If you can’t make it, we hope wherever you are is filled this week with as much inspiration and connection as you can rightly handle.

Honey from the Lion Book Launch

We’re gearing up here for UNCW’s annual Writers’ Week November 16 through 20, where we’ll also celebrate with the official Wilmington book launch of Honey from the Lion.  Matthew Neill Null will read with Pulitzer Prize winner Edward P. Jones. If you’re local, please join us–all Writers’ Week events are free and open to the public, and we’d love to see you there!

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News Roundup

It’s Halloween eve, folks, and we’re ready to get creepy and eat some candy! This week’s roundup highlights what we love so much about Halloween: the combination of scary and sweet, of “misery and magic” (quoth Morgantown Magazine, below). We’ll start off with this bit of photographic sweetness from the Boston Book Festival, where our own Matthew Neill Null sat on a panel with superstars Megan Mayhew Bergman and Matt Bell.

Matt at Boston Book Festival

Things heat up with some love for Honey from the Lion, first from this Atlanta Journal-Constitution review. “Null commands the language of a bygone place and time in prose as eloquent and precise as poetry,” it says, and also: “Mistaken identities, espionage, double-crosses, police corruption, gilded-era fat cats scheming from afar, hatchet men penetrating the union ranks like ninjas—it’s all here in a tightly plotted story that often reads like a thriller.” Poetry and pacing! That’s quite a combo, no?

Matt and the book also got some hometown love in the October issue of Morgantown Magazine: “Matt’s characters are the men and women who live close to the bone—the sawyers, peddlers, and laborers whose muscle and spirit both built the state and irrevocably transformed it. And his language, though image-rich and arresting on its own, doesn’t shy away from describing the misery and magic of the setting in equal measure.” We just love that description.

A delightful piece of news: contributor Aimee Nezhukumatathil has been named poetry editor of Orion. Congrats, Aimee! But don’t get too comfy: The Toronto Observer asks, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” in this awesome review of contributor Benjamin Percy’s novel The Dead Lands, a new post-apocalyptic thriller inspired by the Lewis and Clark saga.

We were so happy to see the first three suggestions on the Master’s Review‘s fall reading list are novels from Ecotone contributors—Matthew Neill Null alongside Lauren Groff and Claire Vaye Watkins! Scary! Awesome!

As we’re putting together our Sound issue of Ecotone, it was pretty fun to find this piece in Guernica about Lou Reed, from contributor Peter Trachtenberg, which gets the combination of melody and madness just right. “The best songs were like doors opening into a party, one that was glamorous but also terrible, heartless.”

We hope your Halloween festivities are filled with all the wholesomeness and wickedness, debauchery and deliciousness you can stomach.

News Roundup

Welcome to another Friday! We’ve been busy at work on production for our Sound issue of Ecotone, and wanted to share some good noise with you this week.

Lookout author Steve Almond along with cohost Cheryl Strayed celebrated the one-year anniversary of Dear Sugar radio this week! If you haven’t listened to this podcast, do so posthaste. Always moving and thought-provoking, these two make a fabulous pair.

In Honey from the Lion news, author Matthew Neill Null had some fun in Third Man Record’s 1947 Voice-o-Graph booth this week. He read the first two minutes of his book along with impromptu guitar backing by Porter Meadors. Then the machine pressed the 6″ phonograph disc immediately. Here’s some video of the playback. As Matt says, “nice and crackly.”

LitChat posted a lovely review of Honey from the Lion this week: “It’s as if he sets up an old view camera and stands behind it, head beneath the black cloth, allowing, or perhaps conjuring, the slow seep of images. At times hard to see and even harder to unsee once they form, Null’s imagery and turns of phrase are beautiful, sharp, and keenly rendered.”

You know what else sounds good? Book awards, and new books.

Finalists for the National Book Award include books by contributors Karen E. Bender, Lauren Groff, and Patrick Phillips! Stephanie Trott, one of our poetry editors, interviewed  Lauren Groff for The Rumpus. Stephanie and Lauren talk about how words sound, prompting this lovely quote from Stephanie, “But sometimes those words are so delicious that you have to speak them aloud and wonder how we don’t use them on a daily basis.”

SPARECEcotone contributor Ana Maria Spagna’s new book, Reclaimers, is out. It tells the story of how members of the Mountain Maidu tribe attempted to reclaim the Humbug Valley, a forest-hemmed meadow sacred to them, from the grip of a utility company. 

Corinna McClanahan Schroeder, whose work will appear in our forthcoming Sound issue, has a first book out from Texas Review Press. Winner of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, the poems in Inked chart a departure and a return.

That’s all for this week! We hope your weekend is full of joyful noise and the sounds of beautiful words.

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!

Making A List: Five Little Known Facts About West Virginia

Honey from the Lion, Lookout’s debut novel, takes places in the West Virginia Alleghenies at the turn of the century, and tells the story of how the logging boom changed the landscape—and the lives of a group of people there—forever. In honor of the book, this edition of Making a List details some facts you might not know about West Virginia from one of its own, Lookout Intern Isabelle Shepherd.

#1: Origin of the term “redneck”

The first use of “redneck” appears in the seventeenth century, springing from the Scottish Covenanters, a Presbyterian independence movement. At the time, King Charles I attempted to bring Scotland’s Presbyterian church under his control; in response, the Scottish Presbyterians signed the National Covenant in 1638. The document, signed in blood, declared their allegiance to their religion over the King of England. To symbolize this oath, the Covenanters wore blood-red bandannas around their necks. Eventually, these “rednecks” immigrated to the American colonies and spread down to the Southern states.

Later, wealthy Southern plantation owners may have used the term to distinguish themselves from the poor, and so bestowed the name upon those white field laborers whose necks were turned red with sunburn.

And finally, the coal mining unions appropriated the term. Between 1912 and 1936, strikers in West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania between 1912 and 1936 wore red bandannas to distinguish themselves as union men. The informal garment was a symbol of unity meant to cross racial divisions between white, black, and immigrant miners.

#2: Pepperoni rolls are a legacy of Italian immigrants

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Those who are raised in West Virginia become quite puzzled once they venture out of the state’s boundaries. Where is the staple food—delicious dough wrapped around pepperoni and mozzarella? They can be dipped in marinara, but West Virginians love them just as well plain. And they can be found everywhere—high school bake sales, roadside convenience stores, donut shops, grocers, and even bars.

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News Roundup

It’s been a notably rainy week here in Wilmington, turning our thoughts toward fall at last. You know fall is coming when you scroll down your Facebook feed, and no less than four friends have posted links to this oldie but a goodie from McSweeney’s.

9780544569621_p0_v2_s192x300In other notable news, we’ve got our list of stories and essays that were honored in the Best American series! Best American Stories 2015 NOTABLES include Matthew Neill Null (for issue 17’s ‘The Island in the Gorge of the Great River”) and Chantel Acevedo (for 17’s “Strange and Lovely”). Several of our essayists earn NOTABLE mentions in Best American Essays 2015: Belle Boggs (for issue 17’s “Imaginary Children”), Camas Davis (for 18’s “Human Principles”), Joni Tevis (for 17’s “What Looks Like Mad Disorder”), and Toni Tipton-Martin (for 18’s “Breaking the Jemima Code”)! We’re so happy for our talented contributors!

Notable reviews abound: Lee Upton’s Bottle the Bottles the Bottles the Bottles gets a glowing review in The Literary Review, Claire Vaye Watkins’s new novel got a great review in Slant Magazine, and Ana Maria Spagna’s new book Reclaimers got this review in the Seattle Times. Last but not least: Chantel Acevedo, Edith Pearlman, and Jim Shepard—all Ecotone contributors—were longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.

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We were notably excited to meet so many booksellers at the Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance (SIBA) conference last weekend. We had a great time at the panels, signings, and exhibitor show, where we talked up Honey from the Lion. The South is filled with so many great bookstores, and we love getting to know the people behind them. Check out the Seven Questions section of our blog, where we interview writers and, yes, booksellers! We already have some amazing interviews, including ones with Hub City, Quail Ridge, and Parnassus. If you’re a bookseller and are interested in participating in this blog series, let us know.

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Matthew Neill Null’s Carolina tour, supported in part by the great folks at South Arts, culminated with his appearance at SIBA, and it was a resounding success (even Leopold Bloom the dog thought so!) If you missed him in North Carolina, catch him in Nashville, Tennessee on October 10 at the Southern Festival of Books. He’ll be giving a talk with Glenn Taylor titled “Whiskey-Bent and Gallows-Bound: Novels of Turn-of-the-Century West Virginia.” And big thanks to Tennessee’s Chapter 16 for giving him this great review in advance of his visit!
The weekend is here, and we hope it’s filled for you with many notables. (Naps are in order here, friends.) Have a great one!

News Roundup

It’s been a big book awards week, no? Hearty congratulations to all the authors on the National Book Awards longlists, but especially to Lookout’s debut author Edith Pearlman, of whom we’re forever fans. (A toast to her editor and Lookout’s co-founder, Ben George, as well!) We’re also thrilled to see books by members of our hometown team selected–congrats are in order for Wilmingtonians Karen E. Bender and Michael White. And two Ecotone contributors to boot: Lauren Groff (whose beautiful story “Abundance” appears in our Ecotone anthology, Astoria to Zion) and Patrick Phillips. Hooray, all of you!

Around the net, we saw Camille T. Dungy featured on Poets.org’s Poem-a-Day and Claire Vaye Watkins’s story “Wasteland, Wasteland, Wasteland” as Kenyon Review’s story of the week.

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Our debut novelist, Matthew Neill Null (seen here signing a book for beloved author Pat Conroy) has been super busy this week touring all around North and South Carolina–supported by grant funding from South Arts–including visits to the Hawbridge school in Saxapahaw where he faced down 320 elementary and high school students, and the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines where he talked about writing historical fiction. Thanks so much to the bookstores that hosted and supported Matt this week, the best of the best around the Carolinas: Scuppernog, Malaprop’s, Flyleaf, the Country Bookshop, Fiction Addiction, Hub City, and Main Street Books. We’re so grateful to have fantastic and gracious stores to send our writers to.

We’re also thrilled that Kirkus Reviews included Honey from the Lion in Nine Books You Shouldn’t Overlook, and loved to hear Matt over the airwaves on The State of Things. He was a little hoarse, but understandably so after this crazy week.

Matt tour

Matt and staff from Lookout are headed this weekend to the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show in Raleigh, and can’t wait to meet and talk with owners from some of our favorite bookstores in the South. We hope, as ours will be, your weekends are filled with lots of books and scavenger hunts!

Literary Hub Partnership

If you haven’t checked out Literary Hub yet, it’s time. Seriously, go there right now. We’ll wait. Founded as a way to help aggregate all of the internet’s best literary content, Lit Hub brings you a daily reading buffet including literary news, excerpts, and features from their partners of publishers, journals, bookstores, and nonprofits–the best of the best, including Lookout and Ecotone. Subscribe to LitHub Daily, and you’ll get e-mail with a rundown of fascinating content, ensuring your happiness everywhere from your private reading sessions (check out their Bookshelf for inspiration for yours) to the best literary cocktail parties (know the scoop on everything from life after the trans memoir to Argentine writers).

Today Lit Hub features an excerpt from our own Honey from the Lion by Matthew Neill Null. And we’re excited to continue working with Lit Hub to grow and publicize their mission to serve literary culture on the web. Amen!

The Masters Review Leaves Us Speechless

The Masters Review posted its review of Honey from the Lion, and completely wowed us! Here are a few of our favorite sentences from Brett Beach’s fantastic response to the book.

“The novel moves with the assured pace of a thriller, while sentence by sentence Null plays with the language of place, of longing, and of violence.”

“At a time when California’s coast has been given a death sentence, ice caps are melting, and warnings about the sustainability of man’s consumption are still dismissed by some politicians and citizens, Null’s evocation of the forest’s steady destruction is both a prescient fable of our future and a humbling reminder of man’s consistent and tyrannical history of ruin at any cost.”

“Frankly no first novel has the right to be this good—and yet, Null succeeds.”

Thanks so much to Brett and to the Masters Review!