We threw our Winter Words celebration on a rather spring-like afternoon last Sunday in Anchorage’s Stuckagain Heights neighborhood. Originally slated for December 2nd, we postponed due to—you guessed it—the November 30th earthquake. Interim Board President Barbara Hood hosted this fundraiser in her home. It was a gorgeous day with lush light, long views, and great company (not to mention stable ground). It felt great to hang early in our tenth anniversary year with fine people brought together in support of the 49 Writers mission.
We were especially pleased to welcome author Eowyn Ivey as our featured guest. We were also happy to include author Jamey Bradbury, too, as a surprise guest, whose debut novel The Wild Inside was published in March by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. Jamey’s on deck to teach for 49 Writers next fall, and graciously agreed to give a short reading from her book—now available in paperback—and to introduce Eowyn. Her intro was funny and moving, and we’re hoping to post it as a blog post before long.
Eowyn gave a touching reading of an essay published in a shorter form in the Wall Street Journal. The story was about a fossil-hunting trip she took in the Talkeetna Mountains with her mother, the poet Julie LeMay (The Echo of Ice Letting Go, University of Alaska Press). Julie had also written about the trip, and Eowyn followed her essay by reading Julie’s poem. It was lovely.
We also took the opportunity to announce the establishment of our new Emeritus Board of Directors. Membership in our Emeritus Board begins with nomination and election by the governing Board of Directors. This honorary title recognizes former voting members who served with distinction and excellence and whose exemplary service continues through active participation, significant contributions, and/or continuing strong interest in the organization. It was a great pleasure to induct two former board presidents and long-time board members Kirsten Dixon and Don Rearden onto the 49 Writers Emeritus Board. They’ve both contributed time and treasurer generously and continue to positively impact 49 Writers’ well-being. We presented them with plaques and heartfelt thanks.
Towards the end of the afternoon, we celebrated our guests with several door prizes—including signed books from Eowyn and Jamey, as well as a copy of the gorgeous Up Here anthology donated by contributor and board member Carol Richards, plus 49 Writers shwag, several copies of an Alaska Quarterly Review back issue that includes work by Eva Saulitus and John Luther Adams, and more. In addition to a great spread of food and tea, Barb had set up a “photo booth” in the loft with some costume props and more. It was fun seeing her dressed up as Faina from The Snow Child.
Thanks so much to everyone who supported 49 Writers via Winter Words: those who attended, and those who donated even when they couldn’t be present. It was a fun reminder of the richness of our literary family in Alaska.