Deb: 49 Writers Weekly Round-up

Now that the new year’s well underway, we’ve opened nominations for our next 49 Writers online book club discussion. We’ve got a nice list going (Blonde Indian; The Yiddish Policemen’s Union; Rock, Water, Wild; The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife; A Land Gone Lonesome) but if you have another title to add, there’s still time before I post the book poll on Monday, January 18. Leave a comment with the original post or email your nomination to

Our 49 Writers writing workshop “Finding Your Voice” begins two weeks from tomorrow, on January 30. Three slots remain open. To register, follow the link or email me at Judging from registrations so far, we’ve got a dynamic group of writers in a variety of genres, and we’d love to have you join us. Thanks to support from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and Alaska Sisters in Crime, we’re able to offer the workshop at the low rate of $35.

Congratulations to Michael Engelhard, editor of Wild Moments, on a glowing review from Audubon Magazine in their January-February 2010 issue. The Editor’s Choice states,”This is top-drawer nature writing—there’s not a clunker in the bunch.” On the Audubon website,, you’ll find an excerpt from the book’s editor Michael Engelhard.

I’m not sure you’re a real Alaskan unless you’ve been to Fairbanks, mid-winter. Now there’s a reason to visit. Fairbanks author David Marusek will be speaking on Saturday, February 13 at Writing in the Dark, an annual all-day writing retreat sponsored by the Fairbanks Arts Association. It provides the creative writer the opportunity to generate new material, gather ideas, and commune with other writers in the beautiful setting of the Four Winds Foundation.

Marusak’s topic is flash fiction, the art of the very, very short story, 1000 words or less. It’s a form custom-made for the digital age, great for reading on your phone, as a Tweet, or during a coffee break. For the creative writer, flash fiction offers the chance to sharpen narrative skills in brief, but complete, bursts of fiction. And the form has become so popular that opportunities abound for publication online, in magazines, and as part of writing contests.

David Marusek is a long-time Fairbanks resident. His short fiction has appeared in Playboy, Nature, MIT Technology Review, and Asimov’s, and has been translated into nine foreign languages. His story collection, Getting to Know You, has been released as a Del Rey paperback and was a finalist for the Quill Award. According to Publisher’s Weekly, “Marusek’s writing is ferociously smart, simultaneously horrific and funny, as he forces readers to stretch their imaginations and sympathies.” Marusek loves writing flash fiction between his novel projects and has published three of them in a national magazine.

The cost is $30 (until February 1, $35 at the door) and includes continental breakfast and lunch. For more information, call 907-456-6485 x227.

And that’s not all that’s happening in Fairbanks. As part of their commitment to showcasing the work of Alaskan playwrights, the Fairbanks Drama Association and The Looking Glass Group Theatre invite Alaskan residents to send in their best ten-minute plays to be considered for the 9th Annual 8X10 Festival of New Alaskan Plays. Eight ten-minute plays will be given rehearsed staged readings at the Festival, which will be held April 16 & 17, 2010, at FDA’s Riverfront Theater in Fairbanks.

Scripts must be written by Alaskan residents, with one entry per playwright and one author per play. No musicals or children’s plays will be accepted. Submit 5 (five) copies of each script, typed & bound, with pages numbered, and a cover page with playwright’s name and contact info, including phone and e-mail. A “Cast of Characters” page with brief character descriptions should follow the cover page, with a cast size of no more than eight actors. Plays should be between 8 & 12 minutes long based on one minute of playing time per page of script, 12 pt. font size, standard playwriting format. Electronic and Express Mail submissions are not accepted, and scripts will not be returned. Submissions must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2010 and sent to: 8X10 Festival, Fairbanks Drama Association/ Looking Glass Group Theatre, 1852 Second Avenue, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. For more information, contact Peggy MacDonald Ferguson at 907-456-PLAY or

Congratulations to Jo-Ann Mapson, core faculty member, fiction, in UAA’s MFA program, on the upcoming publication of another novel, Solomon’s Oak. To be published in hardcover by Bloomsbury in Fall 2010 and simultaneously released in the U.K., Solomon’s Oak is the story of a financially challenged young widow who throws weddings on her ranch-ette in Central California, a former crime lab cop recovering from a devastating injury, a cynical, teenage foster girl who finally finds a home, and of course there are dogs.

Mapson’s upcoming book is dedicated in memory of MFA fiction student, Jason Wenger, who was about to start his thesis semester at UAA when he was murdered in Anchorage in December 2007. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Jason Wenger Award for Excellence in Creative Writing, a fund Mapson started at UAA after Jason’s death to support the program he so dearly loved.

Authonomy has partnered with the Act on CO2 campaign offering publication opportunities in an anthology of short stories, fairytales and poems (100 to 3000 words long) on the subject of climate change. View selected submissions and then submit your own by January 31.

If you write for children, you might make note of a couple of contests. Kids agent Mary Kole, who is hosting a contest on her KidLit blog, inviting writers to submit the first 500 words of their finished young adult or middle grade novel. Deadline: Jan. 31, 2010. Also, Sourcebooks is launching a new young adult imprint called Sourcebooks Fire with a contest for YA writers. You’re invited to submit your pitch, a bio and the title. Contest runs from Feb. 1 to Feb. 28, 2010.

It’s also time once again for The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, an international competition seeking fresh new writing voices. Self-published novels are now eligible, and there will also be two categories this year: Young Adult Fiction and General Fiction. One grand prize winner from each category will receive a full publishing contract with Penguin, including a $15,000 advance. Contest details are listed below, and further information and official rules can be found at Contest submission period begins January 25th, 2010 at 12:01 a.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) and ends February 7th, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time), or when the first 5,000 entries have been received in each category, whichever is earlier. There is no entry fee.

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