Lookout Title Finalist for Young Lions Fiction Award

Friday, March 24, 2017

Clare Beams’s We Show What We Have Learned has been named as a finalist for The New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. 

The story collection was published in fall 2016 by Lookout Books, the literary book imprint of the UNCW Department of Creative Writing. It was released to coincide with Beams’s visit to campus for the annual Writers’ Week celebration last November, which began a weeklong tour of bookstores, schools and community centers across the state.

Since 2001, the prestigious $10,000 prize has recognized a writer under the age of 35 for achievements in fiction writing and has honored authors such as Anthony Doerr, Jonathan Safran Foer and Karen Russell. Oscar-nominated actor Ethan Hawke helped establish the award. The winner will be announced on June 1.

We Show What We Have Learned is also a finalist for the 2017 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for Debut Fiction.

“That Clare’s debut collection is now on two major national award lists affirms the beauty and wisdom we at Lookout see in her exquisite stories and attests to their relevance and vitality within the larger literary landscape,” said Emily Louise Smith, director of The Publishing Laboratory and founder of Lookout Books.

Established in 2009, Lookout grew out of collaboration between UNCW's Publishing Laboratory and Ecotone, the creative writing department’s award-winning national literary magazine, an integral element of the department. Under faculty leadership, students read and edit manuscripts, design books and collateral materials, develop marketing and publicity strategies and help plan author book tours.

“A nod from the judges of these prestigious prizes acknowledges not only the work of Clare Beams,” said Smith, “but also our devoted team of faculty editors and publishing students who helped bring the book to readers.” 

Lookout’s debut title, Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman, was featured in The New York Times Book Review and won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and Foreword Book of the Year. It has been translated into five languages.

We Show What We Have Learned is the imprint’s seventh book.

Students involved with the literary imprint are exposed to reading and identifying emerging and historically underrepresented voices, as well as overlooked gems by established writers. Commitment to providing a relevant educational experience and preparing students for post-graduation career placement are key components of UNCW’s Strategic Plan.

-- Caroline Cropp