Creative Writing

UNCW Pub Lab Director Nominated for WILMA Magazine’s annual “Women to Watch” Awards

The Department of Creative Writing at UNCW is delighted to announce that WILMA Magazine will honor Emily Louise Smith, Senior Lecturer and Publishing Laboratory Director, at its 2017 “Women to Watch” Awards.

The awards honor women in positions of leadership who, through work in the arts, business, education, and public service, make significant impacts on the Wilmington community. As a finalist in the Education category, Emily earns recognition for her profound contributions to the creative writing department at UNCW. She serves as publisher and art director of Ecotone, the program’s highly esteemed, place-based literary magazine, and as founder and publisher of literary imprint Lookout Books. Under her leadership, Lookout’s titles have enjoyed wide acclaim, garnering nods from PEN America, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions, the National Book Critics Circle, and the National Book Foundation.

Both the magazine and the press operate under the auspices of the department’s innovative teaching press. For a decade, Emily has developed the Pub Lab’s curriculum and helped to prepare hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students to enter the publishing profession. She aims to ensure that those students are ready, as she puts it, “to carry into the world beyond our hallways their appreciation for intelligent editing and imaginative design, an unflagging belief that books enlarge our sympathies.” Of the success of the program’s graduates, Emily says, “The presses they have gone on to work for and books they have championed, not to mention the many still to come, are the Pub Lab’s legacy as much as Lookout, Ecotone, and the authors we’ve launched. They serve as proof that our teaching-press model fosters the innovation that will sustain independent publishing.”

Of her colleague, Publishing Laboratory Associate Director Beth Staples says, “Emily Smith is a visionary. She sees beyond what is probable to what is possible, and she shoots for the moon. Add passion, hard work, love of language, a sense of style, and incomparable energy to that vision, and you have an unparalleled result: a publishing program that changes the lives of the students and authors it serves.”

“Emily is beloved mentor who provides our students with a ready example of the dedication, energy, and attention to detail that make a great editor, a great publisher,” says MFA Coordinator Melissa Crowe. “She so clearly loves books and writers. She loves the work of championing them, and our lucky students are inspired by that love. They want to do what she’s doing, and Emily and her colleagues in the Pub Lab teach them how.”

The WILMA Magazine “Women to Watch Awards” will take place on October 13.