We’re rounding up this week’s Lookout and Ecotone contributor news with thoughts about the great white whale we all chase. If you squint, you’ll see him showing up throughout this post. Here we go!
We’re getting closer and closer to the release of We Show What We Have Learned by Lookout author Clare Beams, and so much good feedback is rolling in. The East End Book Exchange, where Clare is having her launch, is re-branding itself as a store focusing on new titles and getting a new name–The White Whale–and they mention Clare’s book in their Littsburgh interview about it! “It’s a short story collection that’s at times creepy, at times surreal, and wholly engrossing.”
James Scott (Clare’s issue editor at One Story) has a podcast called TK, and Janet Geddis of Avid Bookstore in Athens was on the show to talk about fall books! She discusses the whale of an endeavor that is opening an independent bookstore, and both her and James have some really lovely things to say about Lookout and WSWWHL, including about its cover. Definitely check out the whole episode and James’s other interviews.
We’re absolutely thrilled for long-time Ecotone contributor Brad Watson, whose new novel Miss Jane was named as a finalist for the white whale of literary prizes. Check out Brad and all of the other great writers on the National Book Award long list.
Ecotone issue 20 contributor, Anya Groner, has a piece out in Guernica: “Healing the Gulf with Buckets and Balloons.” Groner discusses how her group’s efforts to use balloons to map the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill shifted the paradigm from citizen science to community science. She explains, “Instead of answering a researcher’s questions, community science empowers ordinary people ask their own scientific questions and follow through with data collection and analysis.” There’s a whale reference to me made somewhere here, I’m sure.
And finally, we celebrate some new writing from Belle Boggs, whose book The Art of Waiting has been making a whale of a splash for the past few weeks. This essay from the New Yorker is all about the book that taught Belle what she wanted to teacher her daughter. She was fantastic on WUNC’s The State of Things (listen here), and there’s even more to be found from Belle on NPR and the Powell’s bookstore blog.
Whatever you’re up to this week, we hope you’re chasing some suitably challenging but approachable whale, and we wish you all the luck in catching it! See you next week.
It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago we were celebrating Writers’ Week and helping our sister magazine, Ecotone, launch the fall Sustenance issue with a farm-to-table supper in partnership with Feast Down East. The delicious meal was served under a full moon and glowing lights in the Kenan Hall courtyard. Thanks again to contributors Alison Hawthorne Deming and Randall Kenan, as well as Leslie Hossfeld and Stefan Hartmann of Black River Organic Farm, for speaking. If you missed it, you can enjoy a taste of the evening in this album, courtesy of UNCW’s Will Page.
The new Sustenance issue of Ecotone is now on newsstands and available via the website, but don’t forget to pick a copy of the Spring/Summer 2014 issue, featuring a story by Lookout’s next author, Matthew Neill Null, while you’re at it.Continue Reading
As always in our weekly Lit News, we round up the headlines and vital discussions in literature and publishing arts, and also announce Lookout and Ecotone author kudos.
Emma Straub suggested “Ten Books To Read If You’re Not Traveling This Summer” for Publishers Weekly and included at #3 Arcadia by Lauren Groff, who has a story in Astoria to Zion.
More than dudes in tights or self-indulgent autobiography: at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Anne Elizabeth Moore considers journalistic nonfiction comics from California, Iceland, and Japan.
Ben Miller, author of last year’s debut memoir in essays, River Bend Chronicle, has been selected as one of Radcliffe’s 2014–15 fellows and will have a year at Harvard’s institute for advanced study to shape a manuscript extending his investigation of the urban Midwest. Congratulations, Ben!
Last night at One Story’s annual Literary Debutante Ball in Brooklyn, two Ecotone contributors made their book debuts. Congrats to Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans, and Ben Stroud, author of Byzantium. We hope you both did it up last night!Continue Reading
This week longtime Ecotone contributor Brad Watson answers our Seven Questions and charms us with his distinctive humor and insight. His story “Alamo Plaza,” about a family’s vacation in Gulfport, Mississippi, is one of our favorites to appear in the magazine. It won a PEN/O. Henry and now has a permanent home in Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade.
What books are open on your desk right now?
Geoff Schmidt’s story collection, Out of Time (my students are reading it); a biography of William James (suggested by your own David Gessner); my wife Nell Hanley’s cento manuscript; Meg Pokrass’s new flash collection, Bird Envy; Jamie Kornegay’s forthcoming novel, Soil; Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. And some others a bit further off to the side. A couple of student theses.
If you could change one thing about a classic work of literature, what would it be?
I’d have Huck give Tom what-for when he pulls those shenanigans at the end of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, instead of all that roundabout way of torturing Jim to achieve a phony redemption for Tom. A waste of time, and frustrating. Twain was self-publishing then, right? Well, he should have hired and trusted a good editor. Also, maybe a little more hoozah in that bed scene between Ishmael and Queequeg, don’t you think? It’s damn good as it is, but a devil in me wishes he’d pushed it a little further. Maybe just with dialog of some sort.
If you could spend a year writing anywhere in the world, where would it be?Continue Reading
A few rare snow days in Wilmington allowed us to catch up on reading this week. We’re back at it today, though, and it’s time to follow that author.
We’re excited to announce our first book giveaway through Goodreads. Just sign up before February 7 to receive one of twenty early copies of Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade with a foreword by Ben Fountain and featuring stories by Steve Almond, Rick Bass, Kevin Brockmeier, Lauren Groff, Cary Holladay, Rebecca Makkai, David Means, Edith Pearlman, Benjamin Percy, Ron Rash, Bill Roorbach, Maggie Shipstead, Marisa Silver, Brad Watson, and Kevin Wilson, among many others! And if you do receive a copy, we’ll hope that you’ll review the book and help us spread the word.
“The road to the coast was a long, steamy corridor of leaves. Narrow bridges over brush-choked creeks. Our father drove, the windows down, wind whipping his thick black hair. Our mother’s hair, abundant and auburn and long and wavy, she’d tried to tame beneath a pretty blue scarf. He wore a pair of black Ray-Bans. She wore prescription shades with the swept and pointed ends of the day. He whistled crooner songs and smoked Winstons, and early as it was, no one really talked.”
Excerpted from “Alamo Plaza” from Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade. Copyright © 2014 by University of North Carolina Wilmington. Used by permission of Lookout Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.