Black Lives Matter: Resources for Community Support

We at Ecotone stand in solidarity with those protesting police brutality against black people, Indigenous people, and people of color, and fighting to eradicate the systemic racism endemic to the United States. We endorse and are thankful for this statement offered by the Offing, which reads, in part:

We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. We stand with the grassroots organizations who have been doing this hard work. WE STAND WITH THE PEOPLE.

Below are some resources for taking action and supporting folks who are protesting, in North Carolina and beyond, as well as communities who continue to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Emancipate NC’s Freedom Fighter Bond Fund has a long history of supporting activists arrested in civil disobedience in North Carolina. If you like, you can tag your donation to prioritize the bailing out and legal defense of activists working to effect change across North Carolina.

The ACLU of North Carolina works in courts, the General Assembly, and communities to protect and advance civil rights and civil liberties for all North Carolinians. A recent lawsuit they brought seeks an overhaul of Alamance County’s cash bail system, which they argue discriminates against poor people. The ACLU also offers a guide to protesters’ rights.

The National Lawyers Guild South is offering pro bono legal representation for protesters across the region. They are also looking for donations for a fund that invests in a new generation of radical lawyers, advocates and law students; and a community that embraces a politic of black leadership, queer love, immigrants & refugees, anti-capitalism, and disruption of white supremacy culture.

Southerners on New Ground “builds a beloved community of LGBTQ people in the South who are ready and willing to do their part to challenge oppression in order to bring about liberation for ALL people.” Among many actions and events, their Race Traitors summer call series invites white SONG members “to build connection, accountability, and relationship with other SONG members so we can fight together.”

The National Bail Out Collective is a black-led and black-centered collective to end systems of mass incarceration. Because people who are incarcerated cannot practice social distancing, the collective is accelerating its efforts to free people from jails, prisons, and detention centers. Donations help to bail out marginalized folks, with a focus on black caregivers. The organization is currently focusing its funds towards bailing out protestors, providing legal fees, and providing assistance to bail out groups around the country.

Campaign Zero, which is also accepting donations, has a comprehensive guide to policies that aim to correct broken-windows policing, excessive force, racial profiling, for-profit policing, cash bail, and much more. Familiarize yourself with laws in your area, and contact your representatives—at the local, state, and national level—to press them for their plans on ending discrimination in law enforcement.

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice works with historic black colleges and universities to promote the rights of all people to be free from environmental harm as it impacts health, jobs, housing, education, and general quality of life. A major goal of the center continues to be the development of leaders in communities of color along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor and the broader Gulf Coast Region, which are disproportionately harmed by pollution and vulnerable to climate change.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers this Black Lives Matter reading list. We’d encourage you to purchase these books from black-owned bookstores, like Shelves Bookstore in Charlotte, North Carolina, or borrow them from your local library once it is safe to do so again. A number of publishers are also offering antiracist reading for free, including these free ebooks from Verso Books, among them Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter, edited by Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton.

Through the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund, set up by the Arts Administrators of Color Network, folks can donate directly in support of BIPOC artists and administrators (consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal and temporary employees, etc.) who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19.

A number of writers and editors are offering gratis support for black writers—manuscript reviewing, editing, advice for pitches, and more. Find a list here.

This post was compiled by Ecotone managing editor Rachel Taube.

 

Support Indie Bookstores and Students: Free Virtual Backgrounds

Cheyenne Faircloth using the virtual background from McNally Jackson Noho
UNCW student Cheyenne Faircloth tests a virtual background from McNally Jackson Noho

If you’re like us, you’ve probably found yourself video conferencing a lot lately—with everyone from grandparents to colleagues to students. At UNC Wilmington, home to Lookout Books, we’ve been gathering in virtual classrooms for the past five weeks now, and as both publishers and teachers of publishing arts, we’ve become increasingly aware of privacy concerns when we virtually invite others into our homes. Maybe joining your latest meeting from a faraway beach or outer space elicited a much-needed chuckle (we hope so!), but for us and for many of our students, background images can be more than a joke or a momentary vacation. They can offer an essential layer of privacy and help maintain confidentiality around disparities in living situations.

We also know we’re not alone in missing the community that bookstores provide—being able to step inside and immediately surround ourselves with books and fellow book lovers. So we reached out to some beloved indie shops that graciously came through with these beautiful, inspiring (free!) backgrounds, available in high-resolution by clicking the thumbnail images below. Whether the next few weeks and months find you virtually attending or teaching classes, joining a book-club conversation, chatting with Grandma, or sitting through your hundredth Zoom meeting, we hope that these images will lift your spirits.

Pub Lab team testing virtual backgrounds during a meeting
Faculty and staff of the UNCW Publishing Laboratory meet using virtual backgrounds from Vroman’s, Main Street Books, Books Are Magic, and Brazos.

Until we’re able to gather again for readings, book clubs, and of course shopping, please visit these bookstores’ respective websites for ways to help sustain them through this difficult time. Many indies continue to host virtual story time for kids, readings, and book launches. They fill orders from behind closed storefronts and work twice as hard for a fraction of the income. They’re serving their communities—those of us who know just how essential books are. We recommend purchasing books from them online or curbside (if they’re offering that option), buying a gift card, or making a donation.


Books Are Magic

Click to download

Opened in 2017 by Emma Straub and Michael Fusco-Straub, Books Are Magic is home to new releases and beloved classics, hidey-holes for children and books to read in them, gumballs filled with poetry, events almost every night of the week and story times on the weekends, and yes, plenty of magic. Haven’t managed to take a selfie in front of their iconic mural? Here’s your chance! Thanks to Michael Chin for this photo.


Click to download

Brazos Bookstore

Brazos Bookstore opened in 1974 to encourage the growth and development of the Houston literary scene. It continues to be a hub for creative and engaged readers in Houston and is now owned by a group of twenty-seven Houstonians who purchased the bookstore when the original owner retired. Many thanks to the Brazos team for this photo.


Driftless Books & Music

Click to download

Driftless Books & Music has called Wisconsin’s Viroqua Tobacco Warehouse home since 2009, stocking their shelves over the years with half a million rare, antiquated, used, and new books purchased from the inventories of a warehouse and seven bookstores in five different states. Also boasting collections of records, sheet music, art, and a wall of iconic beer cans; Driftless hosts local and regional bands, poetry jams, author readings, and other events in their community performance space. Later this month, Driftless will host Bookstock: Two Days of Peace, Indie Bookstores, and Music, a series of streamed performances by musicians in indie bookstores across the country. Thanks to owner Eddy Nix for this photo.


Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

Click to download

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a bookstore and Spanish-style chocolatería owned and operated by Chapel Hill locals Miranda and Jaime Sanchez, who wholeheartedly believe that the communal experience is cultivated by the sharing of food, drink, culture, and story. At their shop in the heart of downtown, patrons can browse books while enjoying craft brews, a glass of wine, or churros and a cup of chocolate. During quarantine, Epilogue has been working with other local retailers to ship goodie boxes that include chocolate, coffee, and artwork. “We’re been sending those boxes all the way to California and Washington with little notes,” Jaime said in an interview with NBC. “The love for one another has no borders. Through this experience, we’ve seen that the sense of community goes beyond all that. . . . I’ve never felt the community let us go at it ourselves, which we’re so grateful for.” Thanks to Mason Hamberlin, beloved alum of UNCW’s publishing program, for connecting us and supplying this photo by Miranda Sanchez.


Greenlight Bookstore

Click to download

Established in 2009, Greenlight Bookstore now offers two locations in Brooklyn, kiosks, and a spinoff stationery store; and they pop up throughout the city to support events. Community is at the heart of Greenlight. Both locations were funded through an innovative community lending program, in which locals invest in the stores in exchange for 30 percent off during the life of a five-year loan that Greenlight pays back with interest. With knowledgeable staff, curated book selections, community buy-in, and beautifully designed spaces that facilitate conversation and connection, Greenlight combines the best traditions of the neighborhood bookstore with a forward-looking sensibility. Many thanks to Matt Stowe and the Greenlight team for this photo.


Hub City Bookshop

Click to download

Meg Reid, director of Hub City Press and an alumna of our publishing program, took this sumptuous photo of the revolutionary Hub City Bookshop, which opened in 2010 as an expansion of the award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, SC. Twice named one of the South’s Best Bookstores by Southern Living, the shop dedicates its proceeds to creative writing education and new publishing projects.


Main Street Books

Click to download

Main Street Books has lived in the old general store on Main Street in Davidson, NC, since 1987. Their mission is to build a community of readers by feeding imaginations with books that act as windows and mirrors. This recent photo shows their shop windows covered in hundreds of hearts that readers, near and far, cut and delivered through their mail slot.
❤️🧡💛💚💙💜  Thanks to owner Adah Fitzgerald for supplying this photo—and for placing all of those hearts with such care.


McNally Jackson

Click to download
Click to download

Founded in 2004, McNally Jackson has long been one of New York’s destination bookstores and now offers readers multiple locations—spanning Brooklyn and Manhattan—to swoon over and browse. Their satellite stores include Goods for the Study, which specializes in desk accessories, from writing instruments to lamps, and a new arts-focused shop located in the lobby of the Shed arts center on Manhattan’s west side. Home to an international literature book club led by owner Sarah McNally, nearly nightly author events, and a selection of books befitting a store that “aspires to be the center of Manhattan’s literary culture,” McNally Jackson also stocks gorgeous stationery, collectible magazines, and great pens. We’re grateful for these photos © Yvonne Brooks.


Tattered Cover

Click to download

Tattered Cover, founded in 1971, is a Denver institution, a community gathering place, an experience you can’t download (though setting this cozy fireplace as your Zoom background might help tide you over until they can safely reopen). A large indie bookstore and café, Tattered Cover offers the feel and comfort of smaller bookshops, furnishing its four locations with comfortable sofas and overstuffed chairs. Their events series brings in more than six hundred authors, illustrators, and public figures a year. Thanks to Kristen Gilligan and the Tattered Cover team for this photo.


Vroman’s and Book Soup

Click to download

For many years, Vroman’s was the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi, and it remains the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California. Famous for philanthropy, activism, and world class author visits, Vroman’s hosts more than four hundred free community events a year—from launch parties to bake-offs, craft classes, and trivia nights.

Click to download

 

In 2009, Vroman’s bought beloved independent bookstore Book Soup in West Hollywood, after its founding owner, Glenn Goldman, died and the store was in danger of closing. Located on the world-famous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, Book Soup is guarded over by two golden dogs and has been serving readers, writers, artists, rock ’n’ rollers, and celebrities since 1975. Many thanks to promotional director Jennifer Ramos for providing these photos by Russell Gearhart.


White Whale Bookstore

Click to download

White Whale Bookstore began as a pop-up bookstall in 2011 and has grown into a welcoming, beautifully curated Pittsburgh bookstore that connects books with book lovers. It’s also the hometown bookstore of Lookout’s own Clare Beams, which is how we first found and fell in love with it. Many thanks to co-owner Jill Yeomans for this photograph, which stars some of our favorite books.


We’ve added more!

Thanks to these bookstores for joining our initiative.


Click to download

Established in November 2019 in the East Village, Book Club is a new kind of independent bookstore, featuring locally roasted coffee, New York state beer and wine, a curated book inventory, and cozy decor. Many thanks to owner Erin Neary for supplying this photo by Lisa Balzofiore Photography.


Click to download

Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin founded City Lights, a world-famous independent bookstore in San Francisco, in 1953. Book lovers come to browse, read, and soak in the ambiance of alternative culture’s “Literary Landmark” and the legacy of the Beats. Bring Lawrence Ferlinghetti along  to your next virtual meeting, or enjoy the ambiance of City Lights’ extensive selection of poetry and Beat literature from the City Lights Poetry Room. Many thanks to Stacey Lewis for these photos.


Click to download

Green Apple Books, established in 1967, offers three locations across San Francisco, and an extensive inventory of more than 250,000 new and used books, as well as LPs and more than 750 magazines and journals. Thanks to co-owner Pete Mulvihill for supplying this photo by Chloe Jackman. Green Apple led the Zoom-background trend, and you can find plenty more of their virtual backgrounds here.


 

Click to download

Folio Books is an all-ages, independent bookstore in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Focused on providing tangible books to the neighborhood, Folio Books also hosts local author events, a young readers book club, and a community speaker series. Many thanks to Claudia Brancart for supplying this photo by Folio Books co-owner Paula Foley.


 

Click to download
Click to download

 

Moon Lane Ink is a non-profit, multi award-winning independent bookshop group in England. They’re dedicated to raising equality of access, representation, and roles in the industry for children’s books. The nonprofit grew out of London’s Tales of Moon Lane bookstore, established in 2003, and now also includes Moon Lane Children’s Books & Toys in Ramsgate and Moon Lane Books in London. Many thanks to Nicci Rosengarten for providing these photos by Marcus Harvey and the Moon Lane team for helping us expand our offering of backgrounds for kids!


Click to download

Located in Reading, Massachusetts, Whitelam Books is committed to making this world a better place, now and for future generations, by promoting the value of and pleasure in reading, while supporting efforts that enrich life in the community. Many thanks to owner Liz Whitelam for supplying this photo.

 


Not sure how to change your background? Check out Good Morning America’s step-by-step tutorial for Zoom users.

Background showing up backwards? Not to worry—folks in your meeting should see it the correct way. Zoom mirrors your camera by default, but you can adjust this by clicking the arrow next to “stop video” and under “video settings” unchecking “mirror my video.”

All backgrounds are published here and offered free for download with permission of their respective bookstores and/or photographers.

If you’re a bookstore interested in helping us expand this list, please email [email protected]. We’d love to add you!

Earth Day and every day, supporting communities

Masonboro Island, NC. Photo by Lucasmj, CC BY 2.0

This Earth Day, we’re thinking about the many artists and other workers who have lost their livelihoods, or seen them greatly depleted, as speaking, teaching, and performance engagements are cancelled around the country. Delayed projects, layoffs, furloughs, and unpaid leave are affecting our peers in the arts community and beyond. When it’s hard to meet basic needs, it can be even harder to advocate for environmental and social justice.

If you’re in a situation where you can and would like to help those who have been affected in this way, here are some organizations to consider. These are also, of course, excellent resources for those who wish to apply for support. Though this list is by no means comprehensive, we hope it offers some places to begin.

The National Endowment for the Arts, a longtime supporter of Ecotone, Lookout Books, and so many other arts organizations, has made CARES Act grants available for organizations affected during this time. The initial deadline is April 22(!), and application and details can be found at arts.gov. State and local arts councils are offering support as well—the North Carolina Arts Council, for example, has a thoughtful statement and this excellent list of resources.

Through the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund, set up by the Arts Administrators of Color Network, folks can donate directly in support of BIPOC artists and administrators (consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal and temporary employees, etc.) who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19.

Creative Capital has joined forces with several national arts grantmakers to form Artist Relief—an initiative that includes immediate, unrestricted emergency funding of $5,000 for individual artists of all disciplines, and resources to help those in need due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more at artistrelief.org.

The NC Artists Relief Fund was created to support creative individuals who have been financially impacted by gig cancellations due to the outbreak of COVID-19. One hundred percent of donated funds will go directly to artists in North Carolina. Musicians, visual artists, actors, DJ’s, dancers, teaching artists, filmmakers, comedians, and other creative individuals and arts presenters are experiencing widespread cancellations due to this global pandemic. Given the overwhelming amount of need, this fund will also prioritize the most vulnerable artists among us: artists of color, queer artists, and artists with disabilities.

The Coffee House Writers Project, inspired by the WPA Federal Writers Project of the 1930s, is an initiative from Coffee House Press to commission new, short digital-only literary works from writers whose ability to support themselves has been affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. They’ll soon begin sharing new writing twice a month.

Feeding America is a nationwide network of food banks that secures and distributes 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries and meal programs throughout the United States and leads the nation to engage in the fight against hunger. If you’d like to make sure your donation supports your local community, you can use this site to locate your closest food bank and make a direct donation.

For folks in the South, the excellent Scalawag magazine  has a list of regional mutual aid efforts that is well worth checking out.

350.org has a special place in our hearts because our local chapter is led by students in the UNCW’s MFA program—one of whom is Ecotone’s poetry editor. 350.org is an international movement that works to mitigate the climate crisis, and to build a world of community-led renewable energy for all. The organization argues that we cannot deal with the COVID-19 crisis by making the climate crisis and global inequality worse—and that a just recovery will acknowledge these interwoven crises.

The National Bail Out Collective is a Black-led and Black-centered collective to end systems of mass incarceration. Because people who are incarcerated cannot practice social distancing, the collective is accelerating its efforts to free people from jails, prisons, and detention centers. Donations help to bail out marginalized folks, with a focus on Black caregivers.

And finally, a shout-out to one of our favorite entities: the US Post Office. While many people in the United States and around the world are staying home, postal workers are delivering people’s prescriptions, keeping small and local enterprises in business, and connecting families—not to mention delivering reading material from literary magazines and independent presses! The COVID-19 shutdown is causing postal revenues to plummet even as costs increase, and the US postal service could run out of money as early as June. Some ways to support this vital service can be found at savethepostoffice.com. You can also, as always, buy postage and send packages to family and friends—and you can do all that no contact, online and, from many addresses, using USPS’s package pickup service.

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

This post was compiled by Ecotone managing editor Rachel Taube.

 

On Teaching: Stephanie Carpenter

Last month, as the year—and the decade—wound to a close, we debuted the first guides in our Teach Ecotone series. Our second guide comes to us from Stephanie Carpenter, who has been using Ecotone in her classes since 2017. Her one-month guide to Issue 27, spring/summer 2019, gently yet brilliantly helps students make connections between poems, stories, and essays in the issue, as well as visual art and regular departments. The guide features an ongoing group project engaging with Eric Magrane’s “Various Instructions for the Practice of Poetic Field Research.” Find it—available for free download—at the Teach Ecotone page.

Here’s Stephanie on teaching:

I love teaching with literary magazines like Ecotone because they compel me to do what I ask of my students: read new work, with close attention. Using literary magazines and journals as course texts helps me to decenter my own tastes. Rather than falling back on my tried-and-true (and tired?) teaching favorites, I’m embarking with my students on readings as fresh to me as they are to them. We’re all making discoveries; we’re all part of an unfolding conversation. Engaging with journals connects us to a literary community that might otherwise feel far away from an engineering school in rural northern Michigan.

On Teaching: Carlina Duan

This month we’re delighted to debut the first of our Teach Ecotone guides. Each guide includes discussion questions, writing prompts, and activities focused on specific issues of Ecotone. Our featured instructor today is writer and educator Carlina Duan, whose one-week guide to the Craft Issue offers new ways to think about image and place, leaping off from Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s essay “Monsoon and Peacock.” The guide is available on the Ecotone website and as a PDF for download. As you prepare for spring classes, we hope you’ll check it out!

Here’s Carlina on teaching:

I entered writing through an incredible constellation of teachers, who saw me for who and where I was: curious, cautious, hungry for new light. Being a student—within the space of a traditional classroom and beyond it—opened my world to a community of thought. It gave me opportunities to reflect upon and challenge my interior life. Ani DiFranco sings, “The alphabet took us on a wild goose chase.” In teaching, I hope to make space for the wild, the joyous, the strange, and the unknown. I hope to celebrate reflection, and to invite contradictions. I hope to see my students for who they are and where they are, to continue growing and questioning along with them.

 

 

Introducing Teach Ecotone

A bookshelf with a stack of copies of ecotone and a stoneware mugEcotone’s wide-ranging exploration of writing and art of place makes the magazine uniquely suited to the classroom, and we’re always delighted when instructors adopt the magazine for their classes. Teaching with Ecotone offers students the opportunity to write critically and creatively, to discover and articulate their own senses of place, to engage with visual art and literary history, and to understand print culture and literature as a landscape that they are part of. Our theme issues, including Sound, Sustenance, and Body, put the magazine in conversation with a variety of disciplines, making it relevant for a range of courses in the humanities and sciences.

Teaching the craft of editing and publishing has always been a vital part of Ecotone’s work. Now we are pleased to offer teaching guides and writing prompts, tailored to specific issues of the magazine and/or the work within them, for instructors of writing, literature, environmental studies, publishing, and other disciplines. Materials in the series will be posted on our website, freely available for instructors to download and use.

Great thanks to Ecotone postgraduate fellow Sophia Stid, who has made the project a reality. We’re thankful as well to the National Endowment for the Arts, for its vital support of this work and of our teacher-authors.

Soon we’ll debut the first of our guides at our Teach Ecotone page. We’ll also feature authors for the series in this space, so stay tuned!

To begin, we offer our guiding principles for the project:

Spending time with a magazine matters. We cultivate depth. We believe in the power of return, of coming back to the same pages over time. How can we encourage students to give this time to the magazine, and to themselves? We provide teachers with one-month units that can be shortened, lengthened, or adapted as needed, as well as shorter guides that can be used in a day or a week. We believe learning happens in the long haul and in the sudden epiphany. We hold space for both.

Considerations of place and environment are more vital than ever. Ecotone strives to offer writing that engages with place, both toward cultivating love of place and toward engaging readers around critical issues of how we live within it. Climate crisis and the intersections of social and environmental justice are just two issues we and our readers care about; by including as wide a range of contributors as possible, we aim to expand the conversation about these and other concerns, while offering a reading experience that is enjoyable, provocative, and surprising. Teaching the magazine allows instructors to bring questions of place, environment, and ecology in to literature, publishing, writing, and other classroom spaces.

Teachers know what will best support their students’ learning. We provide these materials to aid teachers who make space for Ecotone in their classrooms. We expect that the guides available here will be adapted, altered, and used creatively as needed in each individual circumstance. We highlight the work of excellent teachers in presenting these guides, and will continue to seek out fresh feedback from working teachers as the project develops.

The parts exist in relationship to the whole; the whole exists because of its parts. Our teaching materials embody an understanding of this relationship, and seek to catalyze that understanding for students. They include overarching questions, as well as specific questions on the level of line, image, and craft.

Reading and writing help us think. Our guides teach the art of reading like writers, and writing like readers. We want to trouble dichotomies that separate reading from writing, creative from critical, analytic from generative. Each guide includes prompts for writing in class, writing out of class, writing to discover, and writing to synthesize.

Question-asking is an art of its own. As we work on each issue of Ecotone, we ask questions of our writers, our readers, and ourselves. When we teach the magazine, we are teaching the art of asking questions. A good question is an act of love; it enlivens and expands its subject in the mind of the questioner.

Teaching the magazine as a printed object is an opportunity. Teaching issues of Ecotone makes possible discussions about place; the craft of editing; print culture; diversity, inclusion, and decolonization; and our contemporary literary landscape and the ways it is in conversation with the past. The magazine’s departments, including Poem in a Landscape, Various Instructions, Map, and the Strip, offer unique paths into conversations about literature. Incorporating pedagogical theory, research, and practice, our guides engage with Ecotone as a printed, crafted artifact with a role in literary culture, past, present, and future.

Seven (+1) Questions for Cameron Dezen Hammon

Today in Seven Questions, we talk to Cameron Dezen Hammon, whose debut memoir This Is My Body: A Memoir of Romantic and Religious Obsession was recently released by Lookout Books. Kirkus calls it “a generous and unflinchingly brave memoir about faith, feminism, and freedom,” and the Millions adds, “Hammon explores motherhood, her relationship with her husband, her infidelity, and her growing sense of her own feminism. Her strikingly contemporary reflections about her treatment in conservative churches . . . make her story a salient one for this particular moment, in the wake of the #MeToo Movement.” 

Hammon’s writing appears in The Kiss anthology from W. W. Norton, Catapult, Ecotone, the Houston Chronicle, the Literary Review, NYLON, and elsewhere; and her essay “Infirmary Music” was noted in The Best American Essays 2017. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University and is currently a writer-in-residence for Writers in the Schools in Houston.

Why was it important to publish this book now? How do you hope This Is My Body will enrich the conversation, especially around #metoo and #churchtoo?

I think women who have experienced sexual assault and harassment in a church context are hungry for stories that speak directly to their experience. There’s something particularly egregious about someone using spiritual authority to harm, and we need to talk about this.

Continue Reading

The Future of Publishing: Nicola DeRobertis-Theye

In our newest series, The Future of Publishing, we’re reintroducing alumni of UNCW’s publishing program, including former Ecotone and Lookout staffers, who have gone on to careers in the industry. We continue our series with a profile of W.W. Norton’s Nicola DeRobertis-Theye.



Fiction editor of Ecotone while in the MFA program at UNCW, Nicola DeRobertis-Theye currently serves as the subsidiary rights manager for W.W. Norton and formerly worked as a foreign rights agent for Trident Media Group.

“On the foreign side, which is most of what I handle at Norton, we’re trying to place the translation rights to our books with foreign publishers,” she says. “It is a match-making process, knowing editors’ and houses’ tastes, and who can do well with what kind of book.”

“I’ve had really gleeful meetings at the book fairs in Frankfurt and London, where you get to celebrate in person this thing that has crossed borders and found readers,” she says. “It’s a similar process with the other rights, but knowing the book, knowing the ecosystem, that’s what it comes down to, and I do find that it takes both imagination and knowledge.”

Continue Reading

The Future of Publishing: Meg Reid of Hub City Press

In our newest series, The Future of Publishing, we’re excited to reintroduce alumni of UNCW’s publishing program, including former Ecotone and Lookout staffers, who have gone on to careers in the industry. To help celebrate the launch of Lookout’s redesigned website, we begin with a profile of Hub City’s Meg Reid.


Reid designed the cover to Trespass: Ecotone Essayists Beyond the Boundaries of Place, Identity, and Feminism

Lookout Books is more than a haven for books that matter; it’s a teaching press under the auspices of the Publishing Laboratory at UNCW, making it also a haven for apprentice editors and publishers. The imprint and its sister magazine, Ecotone, offer students hands-on opportunities to gain experience in editing, marketing, publicity, design, and everything in between. Meg Reid, Director of Hub City Press in Spartanburg, South Carolina, was among the first class of students to support the work of the newly founded imprint.

The Lookout publishing practicum, taught by publisher Emily Smith, “completely prepared her for working for a small press,” Reid says, “which involves balancing a lot of plates and wearing a lot of hats.” While working for the press, she drafted grants, planned author readings and book tours, and wrote design briefs for artists.

“I always liked that we were called on to talk about the books in public often. I learned how to summarize a book, while communicating its important themes and resonances—a skill I use often now, pitching reps and booksellers,” Reid notes.

As part of her graduate work in writing and publishing, Reid enrolled in the Lookout practicum class multiple semesters and helped publish three titles: Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision, Steve Almond’s God Bless America, and John Rybicki’s When All the World Is Old. She found it exhilarating to help build the imprint. “Edith’s book was a strike of lightning—we were brand new and suddenly in a national spotlight. I still regularly gift people Binocular Vision—to my mind, it’s the gold standard of short story collections.”

As director of Hub City Press, where she has worked since 2013, Reid now publishes between five to seven books a year in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She oversees the publishing program and helps realize Hub City’s mission to find and advocate for extraordinary voices from the American south.

“I always liked that we were called on to talk about the books in public often. I learned how to summarize a book, while communicating its important themes and resonances—a skill I use often now, pitching reps and booksellers,” Reid notes.

Continue Reading

Roundup: AWP Hot Panels Edition

Packing for AWP in Portland next week and inundated by invitations to panels and parties? So are we! But we’re excited, too: AWP is always a big Ecotone–Lookout Books family reunion, and we can’t wait to see you. We’ve gathered below a selection of events featuring recent Ecotone contributors, each of whom is sure to give a brilliant reading or panel.

Join us Saturday from 6–7:30 pm in the print studio at Pacific Northwest College of the Arts, for the launch of Ecotone‘s Jason Bradford–Shirley Niedermann Broadside Series, featuring readings by Cortney Lamar Charleston and Molly Tenenbaum, and the chance to try out letterpress printing! Come out and wind down (or wind up for the last night of the conference!) for poems, light refreshments, and door prizes galore, including broadsides and copies of our issues. Details here: facebook.com/events/310891649624280/

We hope you’ll also make time to visit us at Tables T4055 and T4057, where we’ll be giving out pencils embossed on site with lines from Ecotone and Trespass contributors!

Remember: leave lots of room in your bags for litmag acquisitions, bring your loveliest literary-chic scarves, and hydrate! See you in Portland.

Thursday, March 28

We’re Here and We’re Queer: LGBTQ Women Tell Their Stories
(Imogen BinnieChelsey JohnsonNicole Dennis-BennSJ SinduPatricia Smith)
Queer people—and queer women especially—have long been marginalized in literature. What are the stories being told about queer women? And who is doing the telling? Four authors with very different backgrounds discuss their books and characters, the stereotypes they fight against, and the truths and lives they reveal. What are the various identities queer women navigate in real life and on the page? What untold stories remain hidden?

D139-140, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Thursday, March 28, 2019
9:00 am to 10:15 am

Poets Claim American History
(Dolores HaydenMarilyn NelsonFrank X WalkerMartha CollinsMartín Espada)
In recent years, many poets have turned to history as the inspiration for book-length projects. How does the poet’s craft encompass the historian’s? Panelists explore strategies for choosing a resonant subject and interpreting another era using documents, maps, landscapes, and photographs. Do historical characters and events broaden the audience for poetry? Are there different readers for poetry, historical fiction, documentary films, and narrative history or do they overlap?

Portland Ballroom 252, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Thursday, March 28, 2019
10:30 am to 11:45 am

Continue Reading