Beginning in fall 2023, UNCW’s MFA program is offering students a complementary post-baccalaureate certificate in literary publishing. The 15-hour degree prepares graduates to work in publishing, editing, publicity, marketing, grant writing, and book and magazine design and production, among other areas. Students also learn skills beneficial in a variety of adjacent fields—from public relations to arts management. At the heart of the program are apprenticeships with the department’s award-winning literary entities: imprint Lookout Books and magazines Ecotone and Chautauqua.
As Lookout’s graduate publishing assistant, I’ve found hands-on experiences with the imprint to be invaluable. I chose UNCW’s MFA program because I wanted to explore professional options as I gained practical, real-world experience. I was uncertain about the exact career I wanted to pursue after graduation. Working at Lookout over the past two semesters has helped me fine-tune my goals and discover new skills.
After careful preparation, planning, and care, I helped launch the imprint’s latest title, Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic, in November. I helped design the anthology’s interior and cover, executed an accompanying social media campaign, and am now seeing my work pay off in the form of accolades and national media attention for the book. It’s come with satisfaction and excitement I’ve never felt before.
Lookout Practicum staff members Morissa Young, Tierra Ripley, and Felicia Rosemary Urso at the book launch
“It’s impossible not to learn from Emily Smith as she explains in real time why we’re taking each step in the publishing process. Instead of focusing on one area, students get to explore as many as we’d like. . . . I’m actively developing new perspectives that will be crucial to my success post-MFA, in publishing and well beyond it.”