Students in the UNCW’s MFA and BFA publishing-certificate programs help power Lookout Books through their work in the Publishing Practicum, taught by faculty publisher Emily Smith. To introduce this semester’s staff, we asked each of them to share a book that offered comfort or served as a source of joy throughout remote learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Get to know our team below, and then visit your favorite local bookstore to pick up these titles. You can also follow the provided links; sales through our Bookshop storefront benefit both independent booksellers and the work of Lookout Books. Win-win!
Amanda Ake is a third-year MFA candidate in creative nonfiction and the graduate publishing assistant for Lookout Books. With a background in website and social media management, she’s particularly excited to help Lookout’s next title make its way into the hands of readers.
Recently, she enjoyed the themes of inheritance, intimacy, and identity found within the essay collection Spilt Milk (McSweeney’s, 2021) by Courtney Zoffness.
Zoe Howard is a senior earning a BFA in creative writing and a Certificate in Publishing. She looks forward to lending a hand in the care and identity that a year of Lookout’s attention can cultivate for a debut author or underrepresented voice.
She keeps returning to the work of poet Gabrielle Grace Hogan, especially her debut digital micro-chapbook Sentimental Violence: Some Poems About Tonya Harding (Ghost City Press, 2020).
Olivia Loorz is a second-year MFA candidate in fiction. They work in the Publishing Laboratory teaching publishing and bookbuilding classes. This is their first year working with Lookout, and they can’t wait to help bring the next book into the world.
Olivia’s most loved book published by an indie press recently is Fiebre Tropical (Feminist Press, 2020) by Juliana Delgado Lopera.
Luca Rhatigan is a second-year MFA candidate in fiction and a teaching assistant in the Publishing Laboratory. They are excited to continue their work with Lookout, carrying through the projects they began last semester.
Luca is inspired by Mariame Kaba’s reflections on police and prison abolition in We Do This ’Til We Free Us (Haymarket Books, 2021).
Gabi Stephens is a second-year MFA candidate in fiction and the designer for Chautauqua literary journal. In her first semester of Lookout, she is excited to create digital content that invites readers behind the scenes to see the care that goes into every Lookout title.
With its dark humor and very human narrator, Problems (Coffee House Press, 2016) by Jade Sharma especially helped her through this year.
Laura Traister is a second-year MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at UNCW, where she also serves as a coordinator for Young Writers Workshop. Having worked at a small educational publishing company before returning to school, she is excited to learn how the worlds of educational publishing and literary publishing overlap and diverge.
An indie book that has been a source of joy for her in the past months is Translation as Transhumance (Feminist Press, 2017) by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz.