At Lookout Books we find inspiration not only from the publishing world but from the literary community in which we are housed. As part of the Department of Creative Writing at University of North Carolina Wilmington, we’re surrounded by other writers—students and teachers alike—whose careers encourage and influence us.
Here’s a recap of some of the literary events on campus this semester:
The first faculty reading of the semester featured poet Mark Cox and fiction writer Rebecca Lee, in celebration of Lee’s recent collection, Bobcat and Other Stories. In early October, visiting writer Jason Mott read from his recently-released novel, The Returned. Mott, who graduated from both the BFA and MFA programs at UNC Wilmington, spent October teaching a graduate fiction workshop. The third faculty reading of the semester featured Wendy Brenner and Nina de Gramont. The latter’s new young adult novel, Meet Me at the River, was released on October 15.
MFA Reading Series
Our MFA reading series is a chance for graduate students in our department to share work with each other and the Wilmington community. It kicked off with the First Year Reading, in which newcomers to the program read work in all three genres. The Halloween Reading, which is up next, is really an excuse to wear outrageous costumes, but we’ll also hear some great work from six MFA students across creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.
Events in the Wilmington community
In celebration of Banned Books Week, local bookstore Old Books on Front St. hosted the Wilmington branch of a nationwide poetry marathon called 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Participating poets from our department included professors Lavonne Adams and Michael White and MFA students Jason Bradford and Emily Wilson. They joined more than two dozen Wilmington-area poets for hours and hours of readings and performances.
The events I’ve highlighted are far from a complete list of literary happenings; there are open mics, poetry slams, bookstore readings, and more happening nearly every week.
As we approach both macro and micro tasks at Lookout—from book design to marketing campaigns to event planning—being part of a thriving literary community reminds us that all of those tasks are in service of literature. And that some of that literature is being written and shared in the same building where we work.