Content Tagged ‘Lookout Books’

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.

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Honey from the Lion: A Companion Soundscape

As the holidays approach, so does the time to curl up with beautiful and necessary books like Honey from the Lion, Matthew Neil Null’s debut novel from Lookout Books. The book, about a rebellion at a logging company in the West Virginia Alleghenies, is both lyrical and suspenseful, an elegy to the ecological devastation and human tragedy behind the Gilded Age.

Our solstice gift to you is an annotated soundscape for the book, expertly produced by folklorist, writer, media producer, and Ecotone contributor Emily Hilliard. Listen to the sounds of crows, trains, and fiddles and imagine yourself right into the world of Honey from the Lion.

0:00 Environmental sounds: Crows, great blue herons, steam trains, crosscut saw, axes.

An overture to situate us in place aurally.

1:22 “On Johnny Mitchell’s Train” by Jerry Byrne, recorded by George Gershon Korson at Buck Run, Pennsylvania, 1946. Song from the 1902 Anthracite miner strike. Via the Library of Congress.

The 1902 strike by the United Mine Workers of America in the anthracite coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania was supported by nearly 80 percent of miners in the area, and it would have been fresh in the minds of the timber companies and loggers represented in Honey from the Lion. The character Judge Randolph is said to have studied the strike, fearing the power of unions: “There’s always a copperhead in the woodpile.”

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Julie Barer Busts Eight Myths about Literary Agents

—Compiled by Lookout intern Caroline Orth from Julie Barer’s UNCW Writers’ Week presentation

Congratulations to Xhenet Aliu, University of North Carolina Wilmington MFA ’07 on her novel, Brass, published this month by Random House. We were fortunate that her agent, Julie Barer, was among the literary luminaries at UNCW’s 2017 Writers’ Week.

A founding partner of The Book Group, Barer first worked as a bookseller at Shakespeare & Co. in New York before joining Sanford J. Greenburger Associates and later starting her own agency. At The Book Group, she represents Nicole Denis-Benn, Celeste Ng, and UNCW alumni Garrard Conley and Xhenet Aliu, among other clients. Her authors have been finalists for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, and have won of the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Kirkus Prize, and many other accolades.

“I think there’s a mystique about what agents do,” Barer began. “My son still thinks I’m a secret agent.” While recounting how she pitched and sold The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, a novel set on Mount Olympia, Barer helped dispel five myths for the audience about the role of a literary agent in the publishing landscape.

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News Roundup

2Qeno0hFriends, writing can be such a lonely business! The computer knows not the sound of your beating heart, and yet perhaps you spend more time with it than any other beloved. Writers being experts on the topic, and thank goodness, there’s no shortage of great books about loneliness. In this week’s roundup, a few other perspectives on togetherness and connection.

First, a peek behind-the-scenes at Lookout’s teaching-press model, where students and faculty work together to bring books they love into the world. “I imagine that at a bigger press, you would be in one department focusing on a specific aspect of publishing. But because we are a small press with a small number of interns, we get the chance to see and experience it all,” says first-year student Marissa Flanagan. Collaboration and creativity in the name of literature!

And of course when a manuscript finds the right home, it’s a connection worth celebrating. Ecotone poet Melissa Range’s second collection, Scriptorium, was one of this year’s National Poetry Series competition winners. Not only was Range’s collection selected by the incredible Tracy K. Smith, but it will be published next fall by Beacon Press.

Lookout author Steve Almond offers some perspective on getting social through social media in an article for Cogniscenti of WBUR Boston: “The essential work [writers] do is solitary. It consists of weaving words into sentences and sentences into narratives that help us see the world more truthfully—the world around us and within us.” While writers are often pleased to reach out to broader readerships through social media, Almond urges writers never to forget their ultimate purpose: to write!

In short: Be lonely! But not all the time. We hope your week is filled with togetherness and apartness in perfect measure.

 

Publication Day!

Today Lookout Books releases its debut novel, Honey from the Lion by Matthew Neill Null. We could not be more excited to bring this book to an audience of readers. Lyrical, suspenseful, tender, gritty, this book tells the story of a group of timber wolves at the turn of the century in the West Virginia Alleghenies who, complicit in profound environmental devastation, attempt to wrest control of their own fate.

Matt is a writer to pay attention to (his book of short stories is forthcoming from Sarabande too), and here—in his own words—is the story behind this unforgettable book.

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Honey from the Lion reclaims a vanished past—a history of daily toil and desire. It is a book of dreams, of the drifter and the clerk, of the washerwoman and the panther. I wanted to write America’s shadow story—the characters popular history crops from the frame. My home state of West Virginia has produced no great men, in the old sense of that phrase, no presidents, but hundreds of thousands have lived and died there, a rich human pageant. This novel is my bid to give them back their stories.

My dad had a good buddy on Fenwick Mountain named Brown. He was a mine foreman from Richwood, one of the boomtowns on which the novel’s Helena is based, in Nicholas County, where I was born. One summer day when I was eight or nine years old, Brown took us to visit a friend of his, an ex–coal miner. The friend was hunched over and shuffled as he walked—he lived off a disability check. After a long round of talk, he led us to what he called his museum, a cramped room in the attic of his farmhouse. Tables overflowed with shellacked hornets’ nests, shed antlers, obsolete hand tools, arrowheads and pestles, the skulls of bobcats, and stone-hard clutches of burrs from the American chestnut, gone a hundred years. But most impressive to me: on the backside of his mountain, the remains from a logging camp. He had picked his way down there and raked the earth to find what was left. He placed a spent pineknot in my palm, no bigger than a hand grenade, and explained how the loggers lit their way of a night, using the pitch as a torch. He had found their bottle dump and its wonders, like the three-sided blue bottles that once contained arsenic, bringing up visions of poisonings, of jealousies and fist fights in high mountain camps, far from the law. Last he led us to the garage, where he kept antiquated logging tools: drag chains, harnesses, the crosscut saw the loggers called the misery whip. After we’d waved good-bye to his friend, Brown spoke of the man’s loneliness. I looked back through the window of the truck, where I sat on the bench seat between Brown and my dad. He had gone back inside. Like that man, the keeper of those things, a novelist desires objects, textures, physicality. A novelist reconstructs vanished lives.

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Honey from the Lion Broadsides

Leading up to publication day for our debut novel, Honey from the Lion by Matthew Neill Null, we’ll be posting digital broadsides—one of our favorite lines from the book paired with a compelling image. We hope they whet your appetite for more from this fabulous book, in which a turn-of-the-century logging company decimates ten thousand acres of virgin forest in the West Virginia Alleghenies—and transforms a brotherhood of timber wolves into revolutionaries. You can find out more and preorder a copy here in advance of September 8. Stayed tuned for more broadsides, too.

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Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, and you can also find our digital broadsides on Pinterest.

Lit News Roundup

We’re back from a fantastic week in Minneapolis for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference. Thanks to everyone who took our books home with you and subscribed to Ecotone. We especially enjoyed meeting readers at our Thursday evening mingle and talking with you during the panel discussions throughout the conference.

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Now that all 12,000+ of us have dispersed, we’re excited to continue the conversations virtually, and the Literary Hub, launched April 8, is the perfect gathering place. The featured daily content includes interviews with authors and cover designers, among others; and this week Ecotone 15 contributor Megan Mayhew Bergman and Musings editor Mary Laura Philpott discuss Southerners with a dark(ish) hearts, work ethic, and the fertile ground for storytelling between history and literature.

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Seven Questions for Parnassus Books

After returning from this year’s Winter Institute, where we met hundreds of dedicated booksellers from across the country, we decided to take a virtual road trip to learn more about their stores. For the next several weeks, our interview series, Seven Questions, will spotlight some of our favorites—including Parnassus Books, Quail Ridge Books, and Hub City Bookshop, among others. You just don’t find better people than the good folks who own and work at them.

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The impressive book selection at Parnassus

Parnassus Books, which opened in 2011, is named after the sacred Grecian mountain known for its poetry, song, and knowledge. And the Nashville bookstore is indeed a home for literature and learning, with regular author readings and weekly story-time events for children. Co-owned by bestselling author Ann Patchett and publishing veteran Karen Hayes, the beautiful store offers an intimate and thoughtful selection of books.

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Lit News Roundup

We loved meeting all of the smart, dedicated booksellers at the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute in Asheville last week. Thanks to everyone who came to our NC Speakeasy, joined us for the rep picks lunches, and added Lookout’s debut novel, Honey from the Lion, to your tote bags. If you weren’t able to snag a galley, please e-mail us.

Four years after the collapse of Borders, “Independents are looking at adding locations and taking back some of the physical bookshelf space that had been lost,” writes Judith Rosen of Publishers Weekly. We couldn’t be happier to read about the ongoing resurgence.

Speaking of bookstores, this “carousel of light” just opened in the heart of Bucharest. Read on to discover six beautiful floors of more than 10,000 books. The space will also host cultural events and concerts.

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