Dan Henry: Author Mary Roach Brings Body Functions to Skagway

Mary Roach

Best-selling author Mary Roach launched her career by
writing about wart surgery on elephants in the San Francisco Zoo.
That, and her meticulous description of orgasms and pooping
in space were the sorts of experiences that attracted the attentions of Skagway
writer/publisher Jeff Brady and his pal, Buckwheat Donahue. Nearly three years
ago, the two friends joined with Haines writer Daniel Henry at the North Words
Writers Symposium in a quest to lure Ms. Roach to Skagway.
Armed with an acute sense of humor and wonder, Ms. Roach and
her manager eventually acceded to Skagway’s persistence by agreeing to be the
keynote speaker at the sixth annual North Words Writers Symposium, May 27-30,
The author of such books as Bonk, Stiff, Spook, and
Packing for Mars
will join ten staff and faculty for the annual literary
event in the historic gold rush town. The faculty is comprised of a remarkable
assembly of published Alaska authors, led by the return of former Alaska Writer
Laureate John Straley, author of eight novels and a book of poetry, The
Rising and the Rain
. Acclaimed mystery writer Dana Stabenow also returns to
the symposium, as does Kotzebue-area author of Ordinary Wolves, Seth
In the tradition of bolstering the Alaska writing community,
North Words is pleased to welcome some very talented authors to the faculty.
Don Rearden is a University of Alaska Anchorage writing professor and author of
The Raven’s Gift; Christine Byl’s new book Dirt Work chronicles
years of building trails of the National Park Service; UAS professor Emily Wall
is the author of three books of poetry and has been anthologized widely; Leigh
Newman’s debut book, Still Points North, is a poignant memoir about
growing up in Bush Alaska.
Teamed up with Ms. Roach and staff, the North Words crew
provides participants with a rare stretch of days in the close proximity of
great minds. Workshops and panel discussions are set in historic spaces with a
relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Symposium participants enjoy the luxury of small
groups and one-on-one access to successful writers.
More than slapping words on a page, North Words is about the
spirit of community. When participants aren’t grappling with Big Thoughts in
sessions, the Symposium offers an array of opportunities for networking,
adventure, and fun. Hikes, a train ride, Dyea cookout, and most meals bring
folks together in the spirit of good times.

North Words participants and faculty take home enough
inspiration to last the whole year, along with a network of folks who’ll help
writers reach their goals. For more information and to register visit the
website at http://nwwriterss.com/

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