Deb: 49 Writers Weekly Round-Up

Hang on to your laptops and pens, folks.  I let you off easy last week, but today we’ve got lots to share.  First off, thanks for the great response to our 49 Writers workshop “Power Writing:  Description that Works,” April 24 and May 1 the Kaladi Brothers on Brayton.  We’ve filled all ten spots, but you can email if you want to be put on a waiting list in case someone can’t make it.  We can also put you on our advance notification list for future workshops.  Look for great topics this fall: 

  • The Well of Memory, with Andromeda Romano-Lax
  • To Market, To Market & Submission to Sale: Get-into-print Clinics, with Deb Vanasse & Andromeda Romano-Lax
  • Get Online, or how to promote your book in your pajamas, with Dana Stabenow
  • Ideas into Story, with Deb Vanasse

A big welcome to new 49 writers advertisers Sandra Kleven, with her books Holy Land and The Right Touch, as well as John Morgan, with Spear-fishing on the Chatanika.  And while we’re handing out welcomes, a warm one to Kim Rich, whose first post as guest author this month runs on Monday.  With that, many thanks to our March featured author Barry Zellen, who might slide one post in next week as well.

We’ve mentioned this before – okay, we’ve made it a repeated refrain – but writers, there are all sorts of great opportunities to get your work out on the web, where readers will find it and maybe even publishers will notice.  One exciting option:  Tundra Telegraph, sister site to the Alaska Dispatch.  Editor Jennifer Canfield is running a discussion on Facebook soliciting ideas for stories.  Stop by and let her know what you’d like to see on this all-Alaska site, and start thinking about what stories you could contribute.  There’s no pay, but think longterm:  readers, publishing credits, archives.  They’d especially love to hear from you folks in rural Alaska.  
April 19th is the publication day for the anthology Hook, Line & Sinister, edited by T. Jefferson Parker and including Dana Stabenow’s all-new Kate Shugak story.  Dana says the stories were initially supposed to be about fly-fishing. “But I don’t fly-fish,” she told Jeff. Well, then, it could be about any kind of fishing, he said. So she sent him a story with the warning that it was only periphally about any kind of fishing.  She says he retailiated by calling the story “magical.” And there you have it – in the anthology.  Proceeds from anthology sales go to support two organizations that help cancer victims down the road of recovery through fly-fishing, Casting For Recovery and Project Healing Waters.

Speaking of anthologies, Fairbanks writer Michael Engelhard is at it again – and I must say, we love his topic.  Northwords: Writing and Life on the Last Frontier will explore that not-so-elusive species, the Alaskan writer.  “Alaska’s writers are a breed apart – or are they?” asks Engelhard in his call for submissions.  “Far from the centers of bestseller publishing but close to awe-inspiring nature, they seem more insular, but often also more connected than their counterparts in the Lower Forty-Eight. Does our home ground or life style yield grist for the writer’s mill that cannot be found elsewhere? What are the handicaps, advantages, and peculiarities of writing in the northernmost state? Is much of our work too “provincial” to find wide acceptance Outside, or is our “exoticism” a bonus? Are we more firmly rooted in place or more footloose?”

For this self-published, print-on-demand anthology, Engelhard is looking for first-person essays of no more than 3,000 words—writing that captures the humor, heartbreak, or hardship of writing on the Last Frontier. This is not a how-to book. “Local color” and “anecdotes” are essential. Submissions (as Word email attachments) should include a one to three-sentence author biography plus contact information.  Among the aspects of the northern writing life the anthology will address:

  • First Steps: On becoming a writer
  • Inspirations: From nature, literary role models, or other influences
  • Tools of the Trade: Workshops, conferences, MFAs, and writers’ retreats
  • Making Connections: Alaska writers and the Outside (publishing) world
  • Making Ends Meet: Writing and other work, writing as sole source of income
  • Bare Bones: The joys and vexations of research
  • Frozen Ink: The physical setup, the place where writing occurs
  • Reaching Readers: Book tours and other forms of promotion
  • Quiet Time: Alaska writers and winter, ways to recharge creative batteries

To qualify as an “Alaska writer,” you must spend at least half of the year in state or have done so in the past. The deadline for submissions is December 21, 2010. Send submissions to Michael Engelhard ( Selected writers will receive one copy of Northwords and discounts on additional copies.

For this week only, award winning poet and 2008 National Book Award finalist Patricia Smith will be joining at UAF for the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series. She’ll read from Blood Dazzler, a collection of poetry about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, as well as her other award winning books.  Today, April 2, she’ll be giving a craft talk in Music 301, followed by a reading at 7 p.m. in the Wood Center Ballroom.  Both events are free.  There’s also a dinner event at the Pumphouse at 5 p.m. 

Aso today (April 2), at the MTS Gallery in Anchorage, a reading of selected winners of the Anchorage Press Super Shorts writing contest wIll be followed by a presentation of awards.  Doors open at 7 p.m., with the reading and awards presentation starting at 7:30.  Following the awards (at 8 p.m.) will be “River of Life ” ~ A One-Time Only Performance of Art in Motion.  Marrying live silk painting – created on-the-spot by Julia March Crocetto – with live vocalArt and improvisational music created on-the-spot by Sharon Corsaro – this artistic duo will present a one-time-only performance, never experienced in Alaska before, to produce art-in-the-moment.

Several of Alaska’s writers, including our own Andromeda Romano-Lax, will be attending the AWP convention in Denver next week.  Among them is Peggy Shumaker, whose new book of poems, Gnawed Bones, recently reviewed in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, will be released at the Denver event.  On April 7 in Denver, preceding AWP, Peggy will be part of a Best Practices Focus Group on New Media and Fair Use.  She invites Alaskan writers with concerns they’d like her to voice to email her at

From 9 – 10:15 a.m. on April 8 at AWP, Peggy with moderate a reading by Judith Kitchen and Ted Kooser from their Poets Guide to the Birds, and from 4:30 – 5:45 p.m., she’ll read from Gnawed Bones at the Red Hen Press Women Writers of the West Panel .  On April 9 from 9 – 10 a.m., she’ll be signing Gnawed Bones at the Red Hen Press booth, and from 3 – 3:45 p.m. she’ll be signing Just Breathe Normally at the University of Nebraska booth.  On April 10 from 1 – 2 p.m., she’ll be signing Gnawed Bones at the Red Hen Press booth.  No rest for the busy writer and editor:  On April 13, Peggy will be in Los Angeles showing slides and reading from Double Moon and Blaze–featuring Alaskans Margo Klass and Frank Soos, Kesler Woodward and Peggy Shumaker, and book designer Wanda Chin as part of the Los Angeles Public Library ALOUD writing contest.

The Alaska Writer’s Guild has a lot going on, too.  Check their website for details about their April contest for members, with a deadline of April 5.  The genre for April is fiction.  At the Alaska Writers Guild meeting on April 20 at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, Willie Hensley will speak.

Authors interested in participating in this year’s Young Writers’ Workshop Conference in Palmer on May 1 are invited to contact Even Swensen. The Conference will be giving participating authors a stipend, and participating authors will meet together for lunch at a Palmer eatery. This event promises to be a fun, fulfilling opportunity to help young writers, and for you to sell and sign your book.

You may not be able to see Russia from your house, but there’s no denying that Pushkin, Dostoevsky аnd Chekhov are great models for writers.  This fall, Olga Livshin, a poet and literary scholar on the faculty of the Russian program at the UAA Department of Languages, will offer Survey of Russian Literature / RUSS A294 on Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.

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