49 writers weekly roundup

At last, at last. Our long-awaited 49 writers book club discussion of Seth Kantner’s Ordinary Wolves begins tomorrow, Saturday, March 7, at 7 a.m. AST, and ends Sunday, March 8, at midnight (or whenever people stop posting). No membership, no sign-ups – just stop by and read the comments, speak your piece, then stop by again, and again. By the time we’re through we should have a nice collection of responses to the book. For a reminder of how it all works, look back at our November discussion of John Straley’s The Big Both Ways.

And don’t forget!! Everyone who comments at 49 writers from February 23 through March 8 gets a chance at the $50 gift certificate from Bear Tooth Theater in Anchorage. That’s a lot of great movies, pizza, and beer.

“I got a delightful package in the mail last week,” reports Ketchikan librarian Charlotte Glover. “A brand new picture book from former Alaska resident and picture book author extraordinaire Nancy White Carlstrom called This is The Day from Zondervan Press. The short poem like text on each page sing the praises of nature. The illustrations by Richard Cowdrey look like a love letter to Southeast Alaska, with their large scale paintings of otters, deer, islands, tidepools, herons, whales, seals, foxes and lighthouses. They are among the most attractive paintings I’ve ever seen in a picture book…just stunning. Reminds me a bit of what Jon Van Zyle did for Nancy’s Raven and River.” As we mentioned in introducing last month’s guest post, Nancy lived in Fairbanks for decades and was a big part of the literary scene there. After her kids grew up she moved back to Seattle a couple of years ago and also spends time in Friday Harbor, WA.

Alaska’s State Writer Laureate Nancy Lord has a busy schedule this month. On March 7at 10:30 a.m., she’ll be giving a talk at the Juneau Public Library. That evening at 7 p.m., she’ll join multiple readers participating in “Rouge et Noir: A SE Alaska Community Writers’ Show” at the Silverbow Restaurant in Juneau. On March 9 from 3:30-5 p.m., Lord will be conducting a writing workshop for young people at Petersburg Public Library, followed by a 7 p.m. reading, also at the library, and an
adult writing workshop at 6:30 p.m. on March 10. On March 13, she has a 7 p.m. reading at Kettleson Library, Sitka. Finally, on April 1 from 5-7 p.m., Lord will join past writer laureates John Haines, Richard Dauenhauer, and Ann Hanley for “Alaska State Writer Laureates: Alaska’s Land and Literature” at the UAA Campus Bookstore.

Nominations are now being taken for the ninth annual Mayor’s Awards for the Arts, a wonderful program that recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations. The awards honor those who’ve made on-going contributions to the Anchorage arts scene. Among the categories are Individual Artists, Outstanding Arts Organizations, Champions of the Arts, and Youth Arts. Mail or email your nomination (it can be made anonymously) by March 14. The award ceremony will be April 8.

UAA presents a bilingual reading by the internationally acclaimed Russian poet Vera Pavlova and her translator, Steven Seymour, whose work has been featured in The New Yorker. The reading will take place at UAA on Thursday, March 19, at 6 PM in SSB 118 (across from Starbucks). Admission is free, and refreshments will be served. The reading is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Languages, the International Studies Program, the Creative Writing and Literary Arts Department, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Khleb da sol’ (the UAA Russian Club).

“Your invoice has been submitted, but due to a temporary cash flow problem, payments are going out late.” That’s the word I got this week from a very legitimate magazine publisher for whom I wrote a couple of months ago. “Payments are going out every week and we hope to be caught up soon. I apologize for the inconvenience and assure you that the delay in payment is not a reflection of your work. Thanks for your patience.” Welcome to the economic downturn, creeping north to impact Alaskan authors. Another casualty? One of my publishers announced this week that they’re no longer supplying books to Borders – too risky.

From Homer, Alaskan author Arne Bue reminds us that he has five Alaska eBooks at http://home.gci.net/~bue/Page4.html. We’ll plan an interview with Arne on his e-pubbing efforts in a future post.

“I am a Dana Stabenow fan first and foremost,” writes Ursula Foster after reading this week’s 49 Writers discussion on cultural ground. “But I will read something by a Native Alaskan author. Since I live in Virginia, I’ll depend on 49 Writers to give me suggestions. I’m an avid reader.” How about it, 49 Writer fans? Suggestions for Ursula? She says the books don’t need to be mysteries. I gave her a couple of suggestions but said I’d share her request with everyone here.

4 thoughts on “49 writers weekly roundup”

  1. Andromeda Romano-Lax

    To our Virginia reader: It’s been many years since I read it, but I recommend TWO OLD WOMEN by Athabascan author Velma Wallis, based on a tale she heard from her mother. A School LIbrary Journal review summary at amazon runs: “Abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine, two old women are left to perish on their own. Although they’ve grown used to complaining and letting others do for them, the two resolve not to wait passively for death but to fight against it. With trapping skills they haven’t used for years and strengthened by their bond of friendship, the two women survive the winter to ultimately come face to face with the members of their tribe, none of whom has fared as well as they.”

    At amazon, I read that there is a good audio version, with a deep, rich narrator’s voice that adds to the story. Writing this comment has given me the idea of getting the audio version to share with my own family (kids 11 and 14) who might be old enough to appreciate it now.

    I can’t remember my full reaction when I first read Wallis’s hugely successful story, but I remember sending a copy to a loved one who was going through tough times. It’s that kind of book.

  2. Andromeda Romano-Lax

    To Deb re: Borders. I know the letter of which you speak; I got one, too. I love independent bookstores, but I also like diversity, and I'll be sorry to see our Anchorage Borders go. IF it goes.

    This article at PW summarizes the latest http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6544012.html.

    Publishers are watching Borders, "worried," based on a big (and high-interest) loan Borders just took. Sales at the book superstores are actually up this quarter, and B & N is opening new stores, but Borders has been troubled for a while now. At our local store (parallel to all the stores, no doubt), there's been a massive slimming of titles, more face-out books and less backlist, and a general sense of flux.

    People who dislike chains might not care, but I'd rather see two big chains than just one big chain. Or am I just attached to the local status quo?

  3. I second the recommendation of Two Old Women. And I’m finally going to read Raising Ourselves, which has been my intent since it first came out. I suspect it will make the list, too.

    I agree about Borders. It’s almost painful walking in the Anchorage store. Models are changing, to be sure. I hope we like where it all ends up.

  4. Voracious Reader

    Once you’ve read Ernestine Hayes’ “Blonde Indian”, it’s hard to recommend any other Alaska Native memoir first. There are many good books by Native people, but Hayes’ is one of the best memoirs I’ve read, Native or otherwise. It’s a gem.

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