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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA creative writing grads use ‘look book’ for exposure

    The Creative Writing MFA Program has come up with a new way to get its students recognized: the “”Look Book.””

    The “”Look Book”” is a collection of works by the program’s graduating students. It gives them a jump-start in their careers.

    “”The idea is that after the two or two-and-a-half years in the MFA program, we can send this out, and that will be a way that the students can get the attention of literacy agents and editors,”” said Aurelie Sheehan, the creative writing program director. “”They try to come up with a story or a chapter or a selection of poems that best represents them.””

    The students included in the “”Look Book”” have an advantage simply through their involvement with the book.

    “”Literary agents usually don’t look at unsolicited manuscripts,”” said Sheehan. “”You usually have to go through this kind of process to get them to look at your manuscript, but the UA has an excellent reputation and the ‘Look Book’ is such a unique and user friendly way to look at works that agents are going to be picking it up and just breezing through it.””

    The idea and means for producing the “”Look Book”” came from within the creative writing program itself.

    “”The idea came from one of the students from the graduate program, Jennifer Rice Epstein,”” said Sheehan. “”I thought it was such a brilliant idea that we went ahead and tried to find funding for it, and we found the funding in a generous grant from one of our alums, Peggy Schumaker. She was very enthusiastic about the project and she helped us do it by supporting us financially.””

    The “”Look Book”” has succeeded in achieving its goal of getting its authors noticed. Cybele Knowles, an alumna of the creative writing program and a short fiction writer, contributed a short story titled “”All I want.””

    “”It’s a humorous story about sexual fantasies and the search for love,”” she said.

    Knowles says the “”Look Book”” has already benefitted her.

    “”It’s helped me tremendously,”” she said. “”Maybe a couple weeks to a month after it was distributed, I got a call from a literary agent who works at an agency in New York City. I’m really excited that my work has been seen by an agent, and I don’t know how that would have happened without the ‘Look Book’ at this point in my career.””

    Overall, the book is aimed at helping the students.

    “”We’re hoping it’s going to help them get a little bit of play in the publishing world, that it’s going to give them this little leg up right at the beginning of their career,”” Sheehan said.

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