Content Tagged ‘Tayari Jones’

Our AWP Picks, Just in Time

We’re heading to AWP! If you’re also going to DC this week, you’re probably doing what we’re doing: scurrying around packing and scouring the schedule for your favorite authors. We dove in to see when and where some of our recent Lookout/Ecotone contributors will be sharing their insights. The three women at our helm, Emily Louise Smith, Beth Staples, and Anna Lena Phillips Bell, will also be presenting, as will our most recent Lookout author Clare Beams. Come say hello and pick up our newest publications at tables 400-401, which we share with sister UNCW publication Chautauqua at the Bookfair. Don’t forget to pack light, and leave room to bring home books!

Here are our picks:

The Craft of Editing Poetry: Practices and Perspectives from Literary Magazine Editors. (Anna Lena Phillips Bell, Sumita Chakraborty, George David Clark, Jessica Faust, James Smith) Ecotone practicum students love editor Anna Lena Phillips Bell’s submit-a-thons. This panel expands on those, as she and other editors who publish poetry share what goes on behind the scenes, demystifying the poetry editing process. Thursday 9-10:15 a.m. Room 209ABC, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

Award-Winning Professional Publications with Preprofessional Staff: Mentorship and Applied Learning in Literary Publishing. (Holms Troelstrup, Steve Halle, Emily Louise Smith, Meg Reid, Kate A. McMullen) Industry Q&As always seem to offer one solution for breaking into the publishing industry: apprenticeship. But what does the mentor/mentee relationship look like, and how do you get the most out of it? Both sides report, including current UNCW MFA student Kate McMullen and Lookout-Ecotone alum Meg Reid. Friday 9-10:15 a.m. Room 202B, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

Reading As An Editor: The Intimate Hermeneutics of a Work in Progress (Catherine Adams, Peter Dimock, Mara Naselli, Hilary Plum, Beth Staples) Come to find out why editor Beth Staples’s new band is calling themselves the Intimate Hermeneuts…and stay to hear her and other top editors in a lively conversation on what happens to your own projects when your day job burrows you into another authors’ work. Saturday 4:30 pm to 5:45 p.m. Marquis Salon 7 & 8, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

Leashing the Beast: Humanizing Fictional Monsters. (Anna Sutton, Steven Sherrill, Clare Beams, Kate Bernheimer, Julia Elliott) Clare Beams has obviously knocked our socks off as a short story writer, but her craft lectures at UNCW’s Writers’ Week and on her book tour were beyond fabulous: engaging, entertaining, and helpful. Catch more pearls of wisdom from Clare, moderated by Lookout-Ecotone staff alum Anna Sutton. Thursday 10:30-11:45 a.m. Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

Beautiful Mysteries: Science in Fiction and Poetry. (Robin Schaer, Amy Brill, Martha Southgate, Naomi Williams, Camille Dungy) How do we present field findings in prose and poems? Camille Dungy has done this in her nonfiction and poetry contributions to Ecotone, and we can’t wait to hear her insight in person. Thursday Noon to 1:15 p.m. Liberty Salon L, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

Together with All That Could Happen: A Teaching Roundtable. (Michael Martone, David Jauss, Josh Russell, Hugh Sheehy, Deb Olin Unferth) We can’t wait for you to read Michael Martone’s “Postcards from Below the Bugline” in the brand new issue. Those of us who’ve been lucky enough to have him at the head of the classroom are eager to hear him share his take-aways from years teaching too. Thursday 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. Marquis Salon 12 & 13, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

Zora’s Legacy: Black Women Writing Fiction About the South. (Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, Tayari Jones, Bernice McFadden, Crystal Wilkinson, Stephanie Powell Watts) While Ecotone publishes writers from all over the world, we’re based here in North Carolina, and continue to be interested in the discussion of Southern literature from the African American woman perspective. Tayari Jones wowed us when she visited UNCW for Writers’ Week in 2015, and we can’t wait to hear more from her. Friday 10:30-11:45 a.m. Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

Looking Outward: Avoiding the Conventional Memoir. (Steve Woodward, Paul Lisicky, Belle Boggs, Angela Palm) Not one, not two, but three recent Ecotone essay contributors will talk about how they approach writing intimate nonfiction. Friday 1:30-2:45 p.m. Marquis Salon 5, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

Following the Thread of Thought. (Steven Harvey, Phillip Lopate, Ana Maria Spagna, Sarah Einstein) Ana Maria Spagna’s “Hope Without Hope” (Ecotone 19) was a notable essay in 2016’s collection of The Best American Essays, about the Maidu tribe’s stand to preserve their forest land from being timbered for energy. We’re excited to hear more about her process for bringing her ideas into fruition. Friday 3-4:15 p.m. Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

Good Grief. (Heidi Lynn Staples, Janet Holmes, Steven Karl, Prageeta Sharma) Do you find comfort and catharsis in poetry? Heidi Lynn Staples, whose poems from her stunning collection, The Arrangement, graced our pages in Issue 18, shares her experiences writing from grief. Friday 4:30-5:45 p.m. Supreme Court, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

I’ll Take You There: Place in Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction. (Ethan Rutherford, Paul Yoon, Edward McPherson, francine harris) Ecotone’s tagline is Reimagining Place, and we frequently debate what it means for a piece to be ‘place-based.’ We are so excited to hear what these writers have to say about place, especially Paul Yoon, whose fiction appears in the new issue. Saturday 9:00 to 10:15 a.m. Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

Such Mean Stories: Women Writers Get Gritty. (Luanne Smith, Jayne Anne Phillips, Vicki Hendricks, Stephanie Powell Watts, Jill McCorkle) Jill McCorkle hails from just down the road in North Carolina, and we listen to her every chance we get! Especially when the subject is why women writers are under greater scrutiny than their male counterparts when they tell tales of grit. Saturday 12:00 to 1:15 p.m. Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

Behind the Scenes: Making Broadsides for Writers’ Week

Each year, the University of North Carolina hosts Writers’ Week, five days of workshops, panels, and readings where writers of local and national interest are invited to share their knowledge and work to students and Wilmington at large.

The Publishing Laboratory creates promotional materials including posters, the brochure, and (drum roll) commemorative broadsides! Heaps of them. Each writer provides an excerpt of their work and the Pub Lab’s six TAs then create a handheld design for audience members to take home after the nightly reading. Each broadside is a limited edition of forty prints that we produce right here in the lab.

Here’s what the process for creating a broadside looks like:

Getting acquainted with the work is key if we want to do it justice aesthetically. We read it many times. We brainstorm various adjectives, feelings, colors, and ideas that we associate with the work’s tone, language, form, mood etc.

We think.

We rummage through images in our brains, get inspired during walks, or while making coffee.


We get an idea! To make this idea perfect, we will need to make a dirty lip. We cover one of our lips with coffee (coffee looks more like dirt than dirt does, folks).

We take photos.

We import the photographs into Photoshop and NEVER forget to change the image mode to CMYK, to make sure the photo is saved at 300 dpi at the appropriate size, and to save the photograph as a tif.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 9.48.55 AM

We fail.

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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.


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.


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.