Content Tagged ‘publishing practicum’

Meet Lookout’s Fall 2021 Practicum Team

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.

The Future of Publishing: Nicola DeRobertis-Theye

In our newest series, The Future of Publishing, we’re reintroducing alumni of UNCW’s publishing program, including former Ecotone and Lookout staffers, who have gone on to careers in the industry. We continue our series with a profile of W.W. Norton’s Nicola DeRobertis-Theye.



Fiction editor of Ecotone while in the MFA program at UNCW, Nicola DeRobertis-Theye currently serves as the subsidiary rights manager for W.W. Norton and formerly worked as a foreign rights agent for Trident Media Group.

“On the foreign side, which is most of what I handle at Norton, we’re trying to place the translation rights to our books with foreign publishers,” she says. “It is a match-making process, knowing editors’ and houses’ tastes, and who can do well with what kind of book.”

“I’ve had really gleeful meetings at the book fairs in Frankfurt and London, where you get to celebrate in person this thing that has crossed borders and found readers,” she says. “It’s a similar process with the other rights, but knowing the book, knowing the ecosystem, that’s what it comes down to, and I do find that it takes both imagination and knowledge.”

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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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