Monday, January 31, 2011

UNC Wilmington's New Lookout Books Imprint Garnering Rave Reviews with Debut Volume

The debut volume from Lookout Books, the new literary imprint of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, has been greeted with glowing reviews this week by the New York Times and LA Times. The book, Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories, by Edith Pearlman, was featured on the cover of the NYT Book Review's Jan. 16 edition. All of this attention is happily overwhelming for members of the Creative Writing faculty, who have nurtured the idea of a literary imprint at UNCW since 2007.

Smith founded Lookout Books with Ben George, editor of Ecotone--the Creative Writing department's award-winning literary magazine--and now editorial director of Lookout. The imprint grew out of the university's decade-old Publishing Lab, a teaching press that offers students the opportunity to learn the publishing process through apprenticeship. Students were involved in every step of publishing Binocular Vision, including discussions about the selection and order of the stories, as well as researching the cover design and typesetting.

Lookout Books publishes trade paperback originals and seeks "emerging and historically underrepresented voices, as well as works by established writers overlooked by commercial houses." George said Pearlman, who has had two stories published in Ecotone, was the perfect choice for the imprint's debut author. At age 74, Pearlman has won three O. Henry Prizes, her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize anthology, and she has published three previous collections. Still, her writing had not achieved widespread recognition.

Pearlman will visit UNC Wilmington in March for the official launch of Lookout Books. She will read at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 3 in Morton Hall Auditorium, with the reading followed by a reception and book signing. Pearlman will also speak Wednesday, March 2 at 7 p.m. at B'Nai Israel Synagogue, 2601 Chestnut Street, on her identity as a Jewish writer and what that has meant to her.

Lookout Books is currently working on its second short story collection, Steve Almond's God Bless America, which will appear this fall.For more information about Lookout Books, go to