Deb: Our Field of Dreams

Given that our roots here at 49 Writers are pretty grassy, it likely surprises no one that we embarked on a “field of dreams” project.  We thought it would be a great idea if someone set aside a whole week to celebrate Alaska books, and we decided it might as well be us.
By us, of course, we mean you: everyone who loves books about Alaska and/or by Alaskans.  We set up a website ( that includes pages for authors, readers, librarians, booksellers, teachers, and publishers, all maintained by stellar 49 Writers volunteer Cheryl Lovegreen.  We invited all of you to fill out an easy form to tell us how you plan to celebrate.  We invited sponsors to help with the costs, allowing us to offer free Alaska Book Week posters and bookmarks while supplies last, and in addition to a growing list of individual contributors, the University of Alaska Press and Epicenter Press signed on as major sponsors. 
Voila!  It’s Alaska Book Week, Oct. 8-15.  Here’s how some of you will be celebrating…not a complete list, mind you, but one that gives some idea of the positive literary energy that’s gathering over our state.
Author and bookseller J. Pennelope Goforth plans to participate in ABW by posting emails and flyers, writing in her blog, and volunteering to speak at events.  In Fairbanks, author and teacher Cherie Stihler will support ABW with submitting paragraphs or photos online, displaying books in her classroom, and forwarding emails. She concludes, “WHATEVER YOU NEED- just holler. THIS IS AWESOME!!”  Author Arne Bue plans to have Twitter and web site blurbs up in early October.

From Sitka, Tele Aadsen writes, “I’d be delighted to promote ABW through my blog, Hooked: One Woman at Sea, Trolling for Truth. . I’m based out of Sitka, so if there’s a particular Sitka or Southeast author that would mesh well with the Hooked audience, I’d be happy to post reviews or an author review. This is a great idea; I’m thrilled to have learned about it!”

In Anchorage, author Darcy Brady plans to share with the group Genre Novelists of Alaska and distribute ABW flyers. Author and publisher Arne Bue plans to tweet and write about ABW on his website, and forward email announcements to his literary-minded friends.  Author and teacher and 49 Writers co-founder Andromeda Romano-Lax writes, “I specifically plan to ask my book club to read an AK-authored book this week/month — perhaps Lynn Schooler’s latest book, but I’ll let the group decide. I’ll plan to blog about book clubs and recent AK book selections in advance of the book week — e.g. early September.”

From Barrow, author and teacher Debby Dahl Edwardson writes, “My new novel, My Name is Not Easy, comes out in October. I am planning to hold a book launch at the Inupiat heritage Center/Tuzzy Library in Barrow and will promote ABW at the same time. I am also hoping to hold events in Anchorage in October as well. In November, I am hosting a session at the Alaska Associate of School Boards Annual Convention in Anchorage called “Alaskan Books for Alaska‘s Kids.” I encourage other children and young adult writers to contact me if they are interested in participating!”

Book Clubs are also on board.  In Anchorage, Pam Butcher reports that the Sew Literal Book club will host author Melinda Moustakis and discuss her book Bear Down Bear North at their October meeting.  At the Friends of the Library’s annual meeting the group will host a reading by a guest author (TBA). Further information will be available at
From Fairbanks, publisher Carla Helfferich reports, “McRoy & Blackburn may time the official release of our fall title, Alaska by Heart–Recipes for Independence by Sarah Pagen (Patricia Monaghan, author) to coincide with other Alaska Book Week events.” She also encourages book reviews during this week. Also from Fairbanks, Alaska Writer Laureate, memoirist, poet, teacher and publisher Peggy Shumaker has volunteered to forward email announcements display Alaska books, write about Alaska books, speak to groups, and write about Alaska Book Week online.

From Homer, librarian Teresa Sundmark writes, “We’re planning to put up a local authors display for Alaska Book Week. Any suggestions for events to coincide would be great!” In Anchorage, Sherri Douglas of the Anchorage Public Library system will be celebrating Alaska Book Week by displaying Alaska Books and hosting author events.  And from Bethel, teacher Deborah Hagedorn says she plans to share Alaska books in class and forward email announcements about ABW to her literary-minded friends.
You don’t have to be in Alaska to celebrate Alaska Book Week.  From Albuquerque, writer and teacher Tara Gatewood will write and speak to community groups about Alaska books and Alaska Book Week.
Please visit our “field of dreams” at and tell us how you plan to celebrate Oct. 8-15.  If you’d like to join our sponsor honor roll, we’ll have that many more free bookmarks and posters to hand out.  We’d also love reports of your activities; once they’re done, email us at (photo, too!) so we can update our archives.  Thanks to all for an enthusiastic response! 

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