Lookout Books Awarded $9,000 from NC Arts Council

Lookout Books, the literary imprint of University of North Carolina Wilmington

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lookout Books, the literary book imprint of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Department of Creative Writing, has been awarded $9,000 from the N.C. Arts Council to support spring 2013 reading tours for poet John Rybicki and memoirist Ben Miller.

John Rybicki’s poetry collection When All the World Is Old (April 2012) forms a compelling memorial to his wife, the late poet Julie Moulds. For his unique tour, Lookout will partner with leading medical and cancer support centers, including the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, to host readings and healing arts workshops.

Ben Miller’s forthcoming memoir, River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa (March 2013), depicts his eccentric family as they search for identity in a Midwestern city increasingly consumed by strip malls and big-box stores. The expansive debut is interspersed with Robert Campagna’s vintage photographs of urban Iowa in the ‘70s. The tour will feature workshops and readings focused on place-based writing, as well as accompanying photo exhibitions.

“We’re grateful to the N.C. Arts Council for the important work they do to help us extend our reach and to cultivate the state’s rich literary heritage,” said Emily Louise Smith, publisher at Lookout Books. “Last year a grant from the Arts Council allowed Lookout to serve more than 750 students, teachers, book club members and readers who attended events featuring authors Edith Pearlman and Steve Almond. Thousands more tuned in to hear them interviewed on The State of Things, Charlotte Talks, and WHQR’s Midday Interview, or participated in a live discussion on The Hinge Literary Center’s blog.”

“In these challenging economic times it is important to remember that for every grant dollar invested by the state leverages an additional $17 from businesses, foundations and local government,” Wayne Martin, executive director of the N.C. Arts Council, said. “Partnerships between nonprofit organizations and the local community make a big difference in our state. Arts councils, arts organizations, and other nonprofits are catalysts that reenergize downtowns, attract visitors, and build community pride.”

Lookout Books grew out of collaboration between The Publishing Laboratory, UNC Wilmington’s teaching press, which offers creative writing students the opportunity to learn the publishing process by apprenticeship, and Ecotone, the department’s award-winning national literary magazine. The imprint’s debut title, Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman, landed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review and went on to win the National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and Foreword Book of the Year.

Though the press will present two very different author tours, both offer tremendous opportunities for students to learn book promotion and tour planning and to cultivate community partnerships. By bringing some of their best interns along, Lookout is able to support their professional development and afford them occasions to share their budding expertise.

The N.C. Arts Council works to make North Carolina The Creative State where a robust arts industry produces a creative economy, vibrant communities, children prepared for the 21st century, and lives filled with discovery and learning. The Arts
Council is an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.