Our Reading & Craft Talk Series connects authors and informal audiences on topics related to the craft of writing. Usually held on Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm in Anchorage, (with exceptions occurring on other weekdays and in other cities) these free talks generally begin with a short reading followed by a 20-30 minute craft talk. The event concludes with a question and answer session and book signing. (Authors are usually responsible for providing their own books.)

49 Writers typically schedules three Reading & Craft Talks in fall and three in spring. We prefer to confirm presenters at least four weeks in advance but are always open to additional opportunities as they present themselves.

In 2017, we began to expand this series to serve Juneau, Fairbanks, and beyond.

Julie LeMayAn Alchemy of Words: Mystery and Clarity in a Poem
April 20, 2017, 7 pm at Indigo Tea Lounge, 530 East Benson, Anchorage
The best poems create a sense of mystery without being obscure or unfathomable; they provide a sense of discovery for both the writer and the reader. As a writer what can we do to foster this in our own work? This lecture will discuss the use of imagery, metaphor, and other poetic techniques that can help balance the abstract and concrete. Julie will also discuss methods for generating new poems and honing one’s writing strengths.

past events:

Daryl Farmer | Surprise and Delight: Capturing the Indelible Moment
Thursday, March 2, 2017, 7 pm at Indigo Tea Lounge, 530 East Benson, Anchorage
Human cognition and perception is shaped by a balanced and reciprocal relationship with the natural world. Yet, too often, technology and lifestyle keep many 21st century people disconnected from this relationship. What role can our writing play in re-connecting us—and our readers—to the natural world? This craft talk will examine how re-creating and re-telling those moments in the natural world that haunt and awe us can help our readers to re-connect with this timeless relationship. Specific examples of how such moments function in stories and poems will be shared and examined. Daryl Farmer is the author of  Where We Land, a collection of short stories and Bicycling Beyond the Divide, winner of a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award and also named as a Colorado Book Award finalist. He was born in Colorado Springs, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains where he developed a taste for the open road at an early age, and has spent a life roaming the country and writing about its landscapes and people. He has lived in New Mexico, Oregon, New Hampshire, Mississippi and Alaska, among other places. He received a B.A. in physical education from Adams State College (Alamosa, Colorado) and an M.A. and Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has taught writing at Georgia Tech. University, Stephen F. Austin State University in east Texas and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks where he is currently an assistant professor and director of the MFA in Creative Writing program.

Brian Castner | Who Owns the Story?
JUNEAU Friday, March 10, 2017, 6 pm, Mendenhall Valley Library, FREE
Joan Didion said that a writer is always selling somebody out. Brian Castner will talk about his new book, “All the Ways We Kill and Die,” the story of the death of a fellow soldier and search for the Afghan bomb-maker who killed him, and what nonfiction authors owe their subjects when writing about their innermost lives.

Roger Reeves | Parrhesia in a Post-Fact Regime
JUNEAU Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 6 pm at Mendenhall Valley Library Large Meeting Room.
What is truth, and how does one speak truth in a post-fact, post-truth era? How should poetry, an art form firmly invested in fiction, artifice, as well as multiple types of truth, embrace or look askance at a contemporary moment and modality that no longer adheres to logic? In this craft talk and reading, using the rhetorical figure of parrhesia, which means to speak candidly and boldly in the face of authority even under the threat of death, I will investigate how poetry and poets might utilize parrhesia as both resistance and potential engine for the creation of poems and poetry. Through consideration of texts that range from the *Iliad* to Solmaz Sharif’s *LOOK,* we will examine how these texts engage and participate in both truth, parrhesia, and invention. FREE in partnership with Juneau Public Libraries. [Roger Reeves will also teach and appear in a Crosscurrents event in Anchorage, and teach and read in Fairbanks through UAF’s Midnight Sun Reading Series]

Roger Reeves
FAIRBANKS Friday, February 17, 2017, in partnership with Midnight Sun Reading Series

Bryan Allen Fierro | Place and Images: Writing Home
Thursday, November 10, 2016, doors at 6:30, program at 7 sharp, Indigo Tea Lounge | Bryan Allen Fierro, author of Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul (The University of Arizona Press), received his MFA in fiction from Pacific University in Oregon in 2013. He won the Poets and Writers 2013 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award in Fiction, and placed in both the 2013 Hemingway International Short Story Contest and Masters Workshop at the Tucson Book Festival. His stories have appeared in the literary journals Copper Nickel and Quarterly West. Originally from Los Angeles, California, he has lived in Alaska for thirteen years, and currently works as a firefighter/paramedic for the Anchorage Fire  Department. Dodger Blue is his debut book of stories.

Lizbeth Meredith | Balancing Now and Then: How Much Backstory Makes Memoirs Shine?
Thursday, January 19, 2017, 7 pm at Indigo Tea Lounge, 530 East Benson, Anchorage
In Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters, Lizbeth Meredith writes about her two year struggle to recover her daughters from a foreign country after they were kidnapped and taken there by her ex husband. These events echoed family violence and kidnapping incidents in her own childhood. Managing to write her story with ample detail and satisfying pacing proved to be a challenging task. After a short reading from the book, Meredith’s talk about her own process will explore important questions pertinent to all memoir writers. Lizbeth Meredith is an Anchorage-based writer with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in psychology. She has worked as a domestic violence advocate, a child abuse investigator, and a juvenile probation supervisor with at-risk teens. Her memoir, Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters, was published recently and is a USA Best Book Award Finalist for 2016.


Kathleen Dean Moore with Libby Roderick | PIANO TIDE: The Work of a Writer in a Reeling World
Monday, February 6, 2017, 49th State Brewing Co. Barrel Room East, 7 pm, doors at 6:30 pm.
Piano Tide, Kathleen Dean Moore’s debut novel, has been called a “savagely funny and deeply thoughtful book,” an “eco-thriller,” a “rare beauty,” an “action adventure,” and a “natural history of SE Alaska.” It is all these and more, the story of Nora Montgomery, who arrives with her upright piano in a tiny tidewater village. With the most affable and odd accomplices at the last stop on the ferry, she decides to block a plan to export the water from a salmon stream. They pull off a splendid, splashing act of resistance, but at what cost? With readings and music, Kathleen and Libby will introduce readers to Piano Tide. Then they will lead an informal conversation about what the planetary emergencies–global warming, extinction, social and environmental injustice, extractive industries run amok – ask of us a writers and artists.

  • Bob Holman – Bob Holman Answers All Your Questions about Orality, Endangered Languages, and the Mediatization of Poetry: on Thursday, October 15 at 7pm
  • Linda Martin – Just a Figure of Speech—finding and placing metaphors to best effect: on Thursday, November 12 at 7pm
  • Alyse Knorr – Locating Love: The Impact of Place on the Lyric Love Poem: March 26, Anchorage
  • Deb Vanasse – The Self-Made Writer: January 29, Anchorage
  • Rachel Weaver – Efficient Revising: Time-saving Techniques: February 26, Anchorage / March 1, Juneau
  • A big thank you to our long-time Reading & Craft Talk Series host, Great Harvest Bread Company, which continues to host special literary events in Anchorage for 49 Writers and our partners.