Meet Lookout’s Spring 2021 Team

What We're Reading

Emily Smith, Lookout’s publisher, and student staff members in her spring 2021 publishing practicum at UNCW meet over Zoom.

Alongside publishing faculty, students in the UNCW Department of Creative Writing’s MFA and BFA publishing-certificate programs power Lookout Books through their work in the capstone Publishing Practicum. To celebrate Black History Month and also introduce this semester’s staff, we asked them to recommend books, essays, poems, and stories that they’re currently reading. Get to know our nine student staff members below, and then contact your favorite local bookstore to order these titles. You can also follow the provided links; sales through our Bookshop store benefit both independent booksellers and the work of Lookout Books.

Go Ahead In The Rain by Hanif AbdurraqibMarissa Castrigno is a second-year MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at UNCW, where she also serves as coordinator for the Writers in Action program. She looks forward to watching the evolution of a book from its proposal stage to its shelf-ready form. Right now, she’s reading Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (University of Texas Press, 2019) by Hanif Abdurraqib, whose writing has fueled her love of all music genres.

Cheyenne Faircloth is a senior earning a BFA in creative writing and a Certificate in Publishing at UNCW. She is excited to work with an independent publisher that cares for left-of-center narratives, and to follow the life cycle of a book from manuscript to publication. Currently, she is devouring anything by Luther Hughes, first stumbling across his poem “if it’s about abuse, then yes, i’ll answer the questions” in Winter Tangerine’s 2016 summer issue.

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Daniel Grear is a second-year MFA candidate in fiction at UNCW and a graduate assistant in the Publishing Laboratory. As he embarks on his second semester with Lookout, Daniel is excited to build upon the knowledge he gained about how to tenderly and rigorously edit and acquire. He is currently reading Memorial (Riverhead Books, 2020) by Bryan Washington.

Hull by Xandria PhillipsLindsay Lake is an MFA candidate in poetry at UNCW, the graduate publishing assistant for Lookout Books, the designer for Chautauqua literary journal, and the book review editor for Raleigh Review, where she also reads poetry submissions. This is her fifth and final semester working for Lookout, and she is looking forward to carrying Lookout’s ethos of publishing books with care and intention into future endeavors. Lindsay is currently reading Xandria Phillips’s debut poetry collection, Hull (Nightboat Books, 2019).

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi CoatesVasilios Moschouris is a senior earning his BFA in creative writing as well as a Certificate in Publishing and a BA in French at UNCW. Having learned about the publishing industry in a classroom setting throughout his college career, he is excited to put his knowledge into practice at Lookout as he prepares for his future in publishing. He is currently reading anything he can by Ta-Nehisi Coates, particularly his brilliant memoir Between the World and Me (One World, 2015) and his novel The Water Dancer (One World, 2019), as well as his recent runs on Captain America and Black Panther for Marvel Comics.

Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha PhilyawKatherine O’Hara is a Summer 2020 Tin House Workshop alumna and an MFA candidate with distinction at UNCW, where she works in marketing, design, and research for the Department of Creative Writing and the Watson College of Education. From developing a comprehensive marketing plan to book tour planning, Katherine looks forward to showcasing a book’s heart. She recently enjoyed Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (West Virginia Press, 2020) and Nikky Finney’s collection Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry: Poems & Artifacts (Northwestern University Press, 2020).

Kayleigh Rhatigan is a first-year MFA candidate in fiction at UNCW and an English tutor for middle- and high-school students. They are excited to see Lookout’s care for unique and important books in action and to learn about the publishing industry in the process. Kayleigh recently reread Rivers Solomon’s incredible story “Whose Heart I Long to Stop with the Click of a Revolver,” published in Emrys Journal and The Best American Short Stories 2018.

Homie by Danez SmithRyleigh Wann is a second-year MFA candidate in poetry at UNCW, where she also serves as coordinator for Young Writers Workshop. She is eager to return to Lookout and join the marketing team after focusing on acquisitions and editing last semester. She is currently spending her days with Homie (Graywolf Press, 2020) by Danez Smith, whose poetry is always vibrantly beautiful.

Book of Delights by Ross GayTyler Anne Whichard is a second-year MFA candidate in fiction at UNCW. She is thrilled to return to Lookout’s design team after previously working on the layout for Cameron Dezen Hammon’s This Is My Body. The care and attention Lookout gives to the experience of bringing a book to life is a mentality she hopes to carry with her in every aspect of life. Tyler Anne is currently spending time with Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights (Algonquin Books, 2019) and Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA, 2011)