Clare Beams’s We Show What We Have Learned is a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lion’s Fiction Award! The prestigious prize is awarded each spring to a writer age 35 or younger for a novel or a collection of short stories. Congratulations to Clare and to all of this year’s finalists: Brit Bennett, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Karan Mahajan, and Nicole Dennis-Benn! “From high-concept premises, to the exploration of heartbreaking family dynamics, each of these debut novels [and story collection!] exemplifies the power of the written word.”
Congratulations, Clare. We’re thrilled the literary community sees all of the beauty we do in this incredible book.
During a time when there’s lots of talk about borders and walls and travel bans, we’re trying to remind ourselves of the power of great writing to break down walls, to help us really see one another. This week we’re celebrating both powerful new work from Ecotone and Lookout contributors, and the happy recognition of writing from the past year.
Lookout author Clare Beams is a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and Ecotone contributors Belle Boggs, Eva Saulitis, and Patrick Phillips have all made PEN finalist lists too! (The Bingham Prize has a surprising tie to our hometown, Wilmington, NC, funny enought. See the full scoop from the Star News.) To top it off, Clare’s book found itself on the long list of titles recognized by The Story Prize, which received 106 books published by 72 publishers or imprints as entries this year. The list—beyond the three finalists and The Story Prize Spotlight Award winner—honors sixteen books that stood out for the judges.
Sure, she’s keeping herself busy with writing and readings, but, like the rest of us, Clare found time to watch Stranger Things things year. In this interview from Flavorwire, Clare reminds us of the literary power of Winona Ryder:
If you could write fan-fiction about any pop culture character, real or imagined, who would it be?
Hmm. Maybe Winona Ryder? When I was a kid she embodied cool, for me — and then recently, along with the rest of the world, I got totally sucked into Stranger Things. It’s interesting to think about what it must have been like for her (after her fall from grace, period of relative obscurity, etc.) to be part of that show, set back at the start of her heyday, but as the mom character this time.
Care to give us a few sentences of micro-fiction about that character?
Winona looked around the set. This, she thought, was like coming home. She brushed back her feathered hair. Home, but with differences.
Samiya Bashir has a video-poem up that’s based on her poem in Ecotone issue 19. Her book, Field Theories, will be out soon from Nightboat Books.
Issue 21 contributor Safiya Sinclair will judge for The Adroit Journal’s Prize for Poetry. The prize seeks to honor writers of secondary or undergraduate status whose work inspires action. The deadline for submissions is February 15–check it out.
Leila Chatti, whose poems appeared in Issue 21, has a new poem up on Rattle‘s website called “My Mother Makes a Religion,” a moving exploration of faith including this line: “A child, I heard the trinity wrong— / thought God was a ghost, her faith / a haunting.”
Issue 18 contributor Aimee Nezhukumatahil’s poem “Invitation” is featured on the Poetry Foundation website. “Invitation” reminds us to contemplate what lies beneath that blanket of sea with lines like, “Squid know how to be rich when you have ten empty arms.”
Ecotone and Astoria to Zion contributor Kevin Wilson’s new novel Perfect Little World came out from Ecco last week. As our friend Ann Patchett wrote of the book, “What I love about this book is that it’s full of good people and all their good intentions. That doesn’t mean everything works out, but you can’t help but think, Oh, what if it could?” And Mary Laura Philpott of Parnassus Books created this amazing book pie chart. Doesn’t EVERY book need a pie chart?!
We like ending on a note about good people and good intentions. We intend to keep to keep sharing all of the goodness we can.
It’s been a strange time in America these last few weeks, so we’re heading into this Roundup trying to focus on some good things for our readers and from our contributors. Here are things to toot happy horns about, and inspiring reads in the aftermath of some disconcerting divisiveness.
Could you possibly need more convincing that this is a book you should read?
Lookout author Ben Miller’s Mural Speaks! project, the aim of which is to translate William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow” into each of the 140 plus languages currently spoken in Sioux Falls, is still looking for submissions. We love the way the project celebrates the diversity of the urban midwest.
Oh, but there’s so much more to celebrate from Ecotone contributors!
We’re thrilled that Dan Hoyt is the winner of the inaugural Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction for his novel This Book Is Not For You. Dan’s story “The Mad King” is one wild ride, in our current issue.
In their October issue, Poetry Magazine published Issue 21 contributor Laurie Clements Lambeth’s poem “Cusped Prognosis,” which was originally part of her essay, “Going Downhill From Here” in Ecotone‘s current issue.
We hope these engaging reads offer some perspective, comfort, and enjoyment. We’ll see you back here soon for our next Roundup!
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.
The 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.”
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 lavished 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!)
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!
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.
A 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.”
Depression-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!
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
Let’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, we 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, about 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) want 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.
(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!
You 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.