Deb: 49 Writers weekly round-up

There’s a tight race underway for our next 49 Writers online book club choice. It’s great to see all the interest, with lots of fans for each book. If you haven’t already voted, you can weigh in (once) at our sidebar poll before 5 p.m. Sunday. The online discussion will be March 1 and 2, and we’ll do our best to feature an author interview and perhaps even some author participation as part of the fun – yes, even if the author is Michael Chabon, we’ll give it a shot.

We may have two slots still open in our 49 Writers workshop “Finding Your Voice.” Email your registration to me at Thanks to the Alaska State Council on the Arts and Alaska Sisters in Crime for helping to sponsor this workshop.

In case you missed yesterday’s post by Joan Kane, note that authors and playwrights Joy Harjo, Diane Glancy, Susan Power, and Terry Gomez are coming to Anchorage this weekend to kick-off the yearlong Alaska Native Playwrights Project. On Saturday, January 23, free performances mark the first Native Theatre Festival at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

Also, on February 5, poets Olena Davis and Kary Wayson will read at MTS Gallery in conjunction with an installation by Rabbit Run Press, part of the Still North Reading and Performance Series.  And if that’s not enough to satisfy the Anchorage literary crowd, in conjunction with the Alaska Library Association’s annual conference, nationally-acclaimed Sherman Alexie will speak in Anchorage the first week in March.  Tickets are limited, and I haven’t heard yet the procedure for general admittance.

Alaskan writers once again have an opportunity to apply for Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Awards. The Foundation is hoping to generate artist interest from all parts of the state, from artists at all career stages. Project Awards of up to $5,000 will support short-term projects that have a clear benefit to the artist and development of their work. Fellowship Awards of $12,000 are available to mid-career and mature artists in specific artistic areas (not literary arts this go-round). One distinguished artist award of $25,000 will be given to a mature Alaska artist.  The postmark deadline to apply is March 1, 2010.

To learn more about the grant application process, or ask questions about improving a past grant application that did not receiving funding, artists are invited to join us for one of three, free informational teleconferences.
For awards in Literary Arts, Scriptworks and Music Composition, the teleconference will be Jan. 26, 2010 at 6 p.m.   Call (877) 615-4339 and use Passcode: 8435 602#.

Friends and fans of the Wrangells Mountain Center will want to head to a winter fund-raiser at the Snow Goose Theater in Anchorage at 6 p.m. on January 27th, where they’ll enjoy live music by Sweet Sunny South and the Pilot Cracker Playboys, a silent auction, a big raffle, and of course fine microbrews.  A $20 donation covers admission, your first drink, appetizers.  Children attend free of charge, with a special WMC kids’ activity focusing on cold-weather adaptions in northern animals offered at 6:30 p.m.  Music starts at 7:30 p.m.  Call 907.244.7717 or email with questions or auction donations.

Finally, Alaska Quarterly Review announces its Spring & Summer 2010 book-length issue, an anthology of innovative new fiction, a major work of nonfiction, and new poetry.  This issue features a cutting-edge anthology titled, “Innovative Fiction: 21 Writers,” guest edited by Amy Hempel. Hempel is an acclaimed writer of short fiction and recipient of the Hobson Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a USA Fellowship grant by United States Artists, the Rea Award for the Short Story and the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction. Hempel’s Collected Stories, was named one of The New York Times’ Ten Best Books of the year. Readers of “Innovative Fiction: 21 Writers” will enjoy a mix of stories by 21 new, emerging and established writers including O. Henry Award winner Patricia Lear and National Book Award winner, Lily Tuck.

Of special interest to writers is the issue’s exploration of what makes a good sentence and how to write one. Using examples from 48 writers, author Arnold G. Nelson, professor emeritus at Western Michigan University, studies the nature of language, literature, and personal observation. Exemplars range from John McPhee and Gertrude Stein to Philip Roth, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, and William Least Heat-Moon.  Rounding out the issue is poetry by eighteen new and emerging poets including Todd Boss, Jeanne Emmons, and Amber Flora Thomas.

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