How can it be February already? The year is racing by. But that’s because so much good stuff is happening in the literary realm.
Yesterday 49 Writers was privileged to provide judges for the Anchorage School District round of Poetry Out Loud 2013. A wonderful way to close the door on January. Thanks go to Linda’s fellow judges – poets Susanna Mishler and Sandra Kleven, to accuracy judge Jessica Jacob, to Laura Forbes at the Alaska State Council on the Arts for organizing the event, to MC Kima Hamilton, and to the eleven students who studied tirelessly to give their very best recitations of a diverse selection of interesting and moving poems. Congratulations to winner Samantha Saige Thomas of Chugiak High School, who moves on to the State competition in Juneau on March 19, and to runner up Mekayla Winchester of West High School. For the final round, Samantha chose to recite Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Constantly Risking Absurdity (#15). Mekayla read Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird.
We are delighted to announce the addition of a weekend workshop to our spring schedule. Nancy Zafris is coming to Anchorage in April to teach a class on Short Story Structure and Brainstorming. Those of you who have attended her sessions at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop speak highly of her ability as an instructor and mentor. The class will take place April 6, 9:00am to 4:00pm, and April 7, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. More information and registration details will be up on our website shortly.
Nancy Zafris is the series editor of The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, a position she took after 9 years as fiction editor of The Kenyon Review. Each summer she teaches a weeklong class at The Kenyon Review Adult summer workshop, a program for which she is also associate director. Over 40 stories generated by participants in that class have been published. Nancy’s latest book, The Home Jar, a collection of short stories, is out in April 2013. Her other 3 books are The People I Know, Metal Shredders, and Lucky Strike. You can read more about her at nancyzafris.com
Here’s a reminder of upcoming 49 Writers events and classes:
- Saturday, February 9, 10am-1pm: “Writing Fiction and Non: How Story Chooses Its Form,” a workshop with Christine Byl
- Saturday, February 9 at various times: “Writing Your Place” at Anchorage Reads, a writing workshop, reading by Eowyn Ivey, and panel of Alaska authors.
- Monday, February 11, 7:00pm: Cinthia Ritchie discusses “How to Finish Your Book When You Don’t Have Time to Finish Your Book,” and signs copies of her own book at Great Harvest Bread Company
- Saturday, February 16, 9:00am-4pm: “Bring in the Clowns: the Uses of Humor in Writing,” a workshop with Richard Chiappone
- Monday, February 19, 6:30-8:30pm: Building a Platform as a Writer, a series of workshops with Lorena Knapp
- Tuesday, February 19, 7:00pm: An Evening with New State Writer Laureate, Nora Marks Dauenhauer, at Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library. (In partnership with Anchorage Public Library and Alaska Writers Guild)
- Tuesday, February 19, 6-9pm: Spiritual Writing: An Introduction, a series of classes with Kathleen Tarr
The program for this year’s Kachemak Bay Writers Conference has now been published. Don’t miss this year’s keynote speaker, acclaimed writer Naomi Shihab Nye – not to mention the opportunity to participate in stimulating workshops and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow Alaskan writers.
Tonight, Friday February 1, visiting writer Alan Heathcock will be reading at UAF as part of their Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series. Wood Center Ballroom, 7pm.
Also tonight, February 1, 7:00-8:30 pm, Jitters in Eagle River hosts its monthly Alaska Quarterly Review reading. Sandra Kleven will read selections from AQR and the UAA Clarinet Ensemble will complement the reading with their music. Open to the public, admission free.
Coming up at the UAA Campus Bookstore: On Monday, February 4, 5:00-7:00pm, Eowyn Ivy presents The Snow Child. At this event Eowyn will discuss
her book, The Snow Child, read a passage or two, and be interviewed by David
Stevenson (director of CWLA/MFA Program). The event is sponsored with
In addition to her 49 Writers-sponsored craft talk on February 11, mentioned above, Alaska writer and former journalist Cinthia Ritchie is on the road next week. Next Friday, February 8 at 7pm, she’ll be discussing and signing copies of her new novel, Dolls Behaving Badly. Dolls optional but encouraged. Anyone who brings a pink Barbie convertible may win a prize. Barnes and Noble, 200 E. Northern Lights, Anchorage. The next morning, Saturday February 9, she’ll be signing books at Fireside Books in Palmer, 11.30-1.30. All dolls welcome. Further congratulations to Cinthia: she had three poems accepted by Evening Street Review and a creative nonfiction piece by Cactus Heart Press.
The Blue Roses Theater Company in NYC is presenting an evening of readings of new plays by Alaskan playwrights as part of its C. Douglas Stephens Infusion Series, Monday February 4, 7pm. For those Back East, the readings, and the others in the series which started Monday, January 28 and presents the readings on Mondays and Tuesdays, will all be held at the Abingdon Theater Company Spaces, 312 W. 36th St (between 8th and 9th Avenues).The featured Alaskan playwrights are Mollie Ramos, Lucas Rowley, Tom Moran, Carolyn Roesbery, Dawson Moore, Linda Billington, Schatzie Schaefers, Kyra Meyer, and Forrest Leo. Free admission. Call 212 252 4915 for more information.
Heads-up for this month’s Poetry Parley: it falls on the 20th this month; the local poet will be Emily Kern, and Sharon Olds will be the marquee poet. If you are interested in reading one or some of Sharon Olds’ poems as part of the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org asap.
Mark your calendars for an exciting opportunity at the beginning of May. Debra Gwartney, who presented at the 2012 Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference to great acclaim, will be back to teach a workshop titled “The Art of Scene Writing in Personal Narrative.” The enrollment is limited to twelve, so register early, at uaonline.alaska.edu or stop by Kachemak Bay Campus, off Pioneer, if you’re in Homer. Participants should bring a four-page scene, with twelve copies. May 3-5 Friday 5-8pm, Saturday 9.30-4.30, Sunday 9.30-1. Fee: $185.
The Kenyon Review is pleased to announce its 2013 Short Fiction Contest, open to all writers who have not yet published a book of fiction. Submissions must be 1200 words or fewer. There is no entry fee. The Kenyon Review will publish the winning short story writer in the Winter 2014 issue, and the author will be awarded a scholarship to attend the 2013 Writers Workshop, June 15-22, in Gambier, Ohio. Katharine Weber, critically acclaimed author of five novels, including Triangle and True Confections, will be the final judge. For full submission guidelines, see the contest page.
The Nicole Blizzard Short Story Contest is open to all women who are Alaska residents as of March 2013; deadline for submission is March 15. The fiction pieces must be between 250 and 5,000 words and contain some lesbian content. The grand prize is $500. For complete guidelines, see www.radicalartsforwomen.org. No entry fee.
Lucian Childs’ short story, “The Letter,” currently appears in the online literary journal, Rougarou. In this sexed-up tale, a man finds it’s not so easy being good in Baghdad-by-the-Bay.
Congratulations to Susi Gregg Fowler www.susigreggfowler.com, whose Arctic Aesop’s Fables: Twelve Retold Tales, illustrated by her husband, Jim Fowler, has just been released by Sasquatch Books. See the Juneau Empire’s write-up for more details.