49 writers weekly round-up

What happened to June? I spent part of it on a tough assignment as a guest lecturer on an Inside Passage cruise (more about that next week) and another bit at the Alaska Book Festival in Fairbanks, but that doesn’t account for it all, and boy, is it gone. Hopefully you caught the four great 49 Writer guest posts by Dana Stabenow before you blinked (if not, check the June archives).

Speaking of Dana, you can read an an exerpt from her 17th Kate Shugak novel, A Night Too Dark, at her website. Dana also reports that she’s thrilled with the cover art. “I didn’t think they could do better than Whisper to the Blood, but then the year before I didn’t think they could do better than A Deeper Sleep,” says Dana. “Never have I been so happy to have been so wrong. Twice.” Publication is scheduled for February 2010.

Dana also penned a short story for an anthology edited by Elizabeth George called Two of the Deadliest. Publisher’s Weekly says, “In Gold Fever, Dana Stabenow fits quick characterizations, an exotic locale (Alaska) and a tidy plot into a few pages.” The anthology publishes on July 21st.

Our next illustrious featured author is Ann Dixon, checking in from Sweden with her first post. Watch for it next week.

If you’re still wiping tears over the hasty departure of June, don’t despair: July brings a full slate of authorly activities, free and open to the public, courtesy of UAA’s Low-Residency MFA Program. In fact, more than a dozen of the biggest names in fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry will be in Anchorage this month to give a series of free readings and talks.

The second Northern Renaissance Arts and Science Series of public readings at UAA begins Sunday evening, July 12, with noted novelist and short story writer John Keeble reading from his work. Altogether, 18 writers from Alaska and the Lower 48 will read for nine evenings, through July 21.

The Northern Renaissance Arts and Science Series of free public readings is part of the Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts graduate writing program of the UAA Department of Creative Writing and Literary Arts (CWLA). The three-year low-residency MFA program includes a 12-day intensive summer residency at UAA, after which the student writers depart for their homes in Alaska and elsewhere to write and study under the guidance of individual writing mentors.

The public readings are scheduled for 8:00 to 9:30 each evening in Room 101 of Rasmuson Hall on the UAA campus. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m.

Here’s a brief rundown of the events:

Sunday, July 12 – John Keeble

Keeble is the author of four novels, including Yellowfish and Broken Ground, and a work of non-fiction, Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound. His collection of stories, Nocturnal America, won the Prairie Schooner Award Series in Fiction. A longstanding member of the MFA faculty at Eastern Washington University and now Professor Emeritus, he will deliver the Northern Renaissance Arts and Science Series keynote address at the residency and kick-off the public reading series.

Monday, July 13 – Derick Burleson and Eva Saulitis

Burleson is the author of two books of poems, Never Night and Ejo: Poems, Rwanda 1991-94 and his poems have appeared in numerous journals, including the Georgia Review, the Kenyon Review, the Paris Review and Poetry. He lives in Two Rivers, Alaska, and teaches creative writing and literature at UAF. He is also an associate faculty member in the UAA Low-Residency MFA program.

Saulitis teaches creative writing at the Kachemak Bay campus of Kenai Peninsula College, in Homer, and she also teaches in the Low-Residency MFA program. Her essays and poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and several anthologies. She was trained as a marine biologist but turned to poetry and essays to develop a second language for addressing the natural world. Her essay collection, Leaving Resurrection, was a finalist for the Tupelo Press Non-Fiction Prize.

Tuesday, July 14 – Linda McCarriston and Josip Novakovich

McCarriston is the senior core faculty member and Professor of Poetry in UAA’s Low-Residency MFA program. She has received two literature fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and two from the Vermont State Council on the arts. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, The Ohio Review, the Georgis Review and the New England Review, among others. She is a featured poet in Bill Moyers’ PBS Poetry Series, The Language of Life, and has been twice interviewed by Terry Gross for Public Radio’s Fresh Air. She lives in Rockport, Massachusetts. Her books are Eva-Mary and Little River: New &Selected Poems.

Novakovich moved from Croatia to the U.S. at the age of 20. He wrote the Fiction Writers Workshop and has published three story collections, two narrative essay collections and a novel, April Fool’s Day, which has been translated into 10 languages. He has received the Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, two NEA fellowships and the Ingram Merrill Award. He currently teaches at Concordia University in Montreal and lives in Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, July 15 – Anne Caston, Rich Chiappone and Zack Rogow

Caston is a poet and former nurse who teaches as a member of CWLA’s core faculty. She has published two books of poetry and is working on a book about growing up Southern, Deep Dixie, as well as a third collection of poetry. She divides her time between Alaska and Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two miscreant cats. Chiappone, who lives in Anchor Point, Alaska, is the author of a collection of short fiction, Water of an Undetermined Depth (Stackpole Books 2003), and his stories and essays have appeared in a variety of national magazines and literary journals. He teaches at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College and is also an associate faculty member in the UAA Low-Residency MFA program. Rogow is the author, editor or translator of 18 books or plays. His sixth book of poems, The Number Before Infinity, was published by Scarlet Tanager Books in 2008. He teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and in the UAA MFA program.

Thursday, July 16 – David Lynn Grimes (free public concert)

Grimes is a bardic trickster, song teller and wandering fool who has howled with wolves, run from bears and cavorted with killer whales. In the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, Grimes has been one of the primary citizen artists and activists working to protect and praise wild habitat for critters and human communities in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and Copper River ecosystems. His most recent CD is Raised On Rabbit.

Saturday, July 18 – Nancy Lord and Willie Hensley

Lord, Alaska’s current Writer Laureate, a long-time resident of Homer and winner of many honors and fellowships, is the author of three short fiction collections (most recently The Man Who Swam with Beavers) and three books of literary nonfiction (most recently Beluga Days). She fished commercially for many years and has worked as a naturalist and historian on adventure cruise ships. She teaches part-time at the Kachemak Bay Branch of Kenai Peninsula College and at UAA.

Hensley published his memoir last year, Fifty Years from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People; a Korean language version will be published in 2010. In 1966, he spearheaded the formation of the Northwest Alaska Native Association which filed claim to 40 million acres in Alaska. He was instrumental in fighting for passage of the historic Alaska Native Lands Claim Settlement Act of 1971, signed by President Richard Nixon. Hensley spent eight years in the Alaska State Legislature and has been in many top leadership positions in the Alaska Federation of Natives. He presently serves as Chairman of the First Alaskans Institute, providing leadership development, research and analysis to improving the Native community.

Sunday, July 19 – Jo-Ann Mapson and Ernestine Hayes

Mapson, a member of CWLA’s core faculty, has written nine novels, most recently The Owl & Moon Café (Simon & Schuster). Her second, Blue Rodeo, was made into a TV movie starring Kris Kristofferson. Her stories, personal essays and poetry have been widely published and anthologized, most recently in Wild Moment: Adventures with Animals of the North. She is an assistant professor in UAA’s Low-Residency MFA program and currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she is at work on another novel.

Hayes, who teaches in Juneau at the University of Alaska Southeast and in the UAA MFA program, is the author of Blonde Indian, an Alaska Native Memoir, winner of an American Book Award. She is a grandmother of four and a member of the Wolf House of the Kaagwaantaan Clan of the Tlingit who has published work in fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction.

Monday, July 20 – Judith Barrington, David Stevenson and Sherry Simpson

Barrington is a memoirist, poet and teacher who was born in the U.K. and lives in Portland, OR. Her work has been published in many literary journals, and she gives memoir workshops in Europe and America. She is most well known for her nonfiction book, Writing the Memoir. Her most recent book of poems is Horses and the Human Soul. Barrington also teaches in the UAA MFA program.

Stevenson is the director of the CWLA Department and the Low-Residency MFA Program at UAA. He has taught at several universities for over 20 years and writes often about the mountaineering experience both in fiction and nonfiction prose. He is widely published in journals such as Ascent, Alpinist, Isotope and Weber Studies as well as in The American Alpine Journal where he has been book review editor since 1996.

Simpson, a member of CWLA’s core faculty, is the author of two collections of essays, The Way Winter Comes and The Accidental Explorer: Wayfinding in Alaska, that explore how people use nature, wilderness, animals and cultural icons to define themselves and understand their world. Her nonfiction has appeared in anthologies and journals across the country. She is currently writing a book about people and bears.

Tuesday, July 21 – Margot Klass and Frank Soos (art presentation and final summer reading)

Among Klass’s influences are medieval altarpieces and the work of constructionist Kurt Schwitters and architect Tadeo Ando. Her work is in private collections and the University of Alaska Museum of the North, the Anchorage Museum of Art and History, and Davistown Museum in Liberty, Maine. She is a 2008 recipient of a Rasmuson Foundation Artist Award.

Soos has published two works of fiction: Early Yet and Unified Field Theory, the 1997 winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and one book of essays, Bamboo Fly Rod Suite. His short essay responses to Margo Klass’ work represent a new and unexpected direction in his work. Klass and Soos began their collaboration in 2002 and make their home in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Books written by the speaker/writers will for sale courtesy of the UAA Campus Bookstore.

For more information, contact Kathleen Tarr, MFA Program Coordinator at (907)786-4394 or afkt1@uaa.alaska.edu. Also, information about each of the writers, the CWLA low-residency program and the Northern Renaissance Arts and Science Series is available on the CWLA Web site, www.uaa.alaska.edu/cwla.

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