Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference Evolving: By Erin Hollowell

This May 15-18 will mark the return of the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference after a year’s hiatus. For nineteen years, the conference has brought together hundreds of writers from around the state and the country to learn from nationally-renowned faculty.

Over the past year, the newly expanded Advisory Committee has been discussing how to help the conference continue to evolve to meet the needs of any increasingly diverse community of writers. This year will be a bridge year bringing some of those changes to fruition, with more occurring as we move forward.

Due to COVID mandates, this year’s conference will be entirely virtual. We’re trying to take advantage of this format by making sure that Conference-goers can participate in a wide array of opportunities: twelve classes, three writers’ craft conversations, a panel discussion by writers from the Peabody Award-winning PBS show Molly of Denali, as well as various networking and community building activities. Three will be no simultaneous classes this year, so you won’t have to miss anything. This will be a great year to branch out and visit classes that you might not ordinarily attend.

Our faculty this year is top-notch, including Francisco Cantú, winner of the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; Victoria Chang, National Book Award finalist for poetry and Guggenheim Fellow; Brandon Hobson, National Book Award finalist for fiction; Marie Mutsuki Mockett, finalist for the PEN Open Book Award; Anis Mojgani, current Poet Laureate of Oregon and two-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam; Vera Starbard, Playwright-in-Residence at Perseverance Theatre through the Andrew W. Mellon National Playwright Residency Program and Editor of First Alaskans Magazine. Our most esteemed closing speaker will be former Alaska State Writer Laureate, Ernestine Hayes.

In order to make it even easier for a wide array of writers to attend (especially since there are no travel costs!), we’ve lowered registration fees to rock bottom: $50 for University of Alaska students and $80 for the general public until February 28th and $100 thereafter. There are scholarships available to cover both the conference registration fee and the 1-credit class opportunities.

To learn more about this year’s conference, read about the faculty, and look at the schedule, go to http://writersconf.kpc.alaska.edu/. The Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference is a program of the Kachemak Bay Campus of the Kenai Peninsula College. Registration is open now and space is limited.

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