Kachemak Bay Writers Conference: Lynn Lovegreen interviews Carol Swartz

The Conference has
become an important feature of the state’s writing community. How and when did
it start?
began in 2002 after the Kachemak Bay Campus had been holding a Visiting Writers
Series for several years. There was great interest in expanding it to become a
statewide conference. The Campus was then the benefactor of a tremendous estate
gift by a an extraordinary woman, Caroline Musgrove Coons. Her gift provided
the seed funds to start it and sustain it along with the many annual
philanthropic contributions from corporations, the University, businesses and
individual donors.

Kachemak Bay Campus has always hosted the conference. What is the
benefit for the college?
 Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College-UAA has
multiple roles, including the enhancement of life-long educational interests
and the creative enrichment of Alaskans through the arts and
humanities. It is our honor to each year organize and facilitate such an
opportunity for Alaskans.

What is unique about
this conference?

The diversity of attendees and presenters; not just writers attend. Its
location. The tremendous sense of community. The variety, quality and depth of
ideas and creative experiences. In the writing conference world, there are many
conferences that foster a stratified environment – some participants having
greater access to the faculty than others. The Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference
strives for just the opposite, a completely non-hierarchical experience. Each
year, participants report that they have enjoyed the fact that writing
enthusiasts, as well as writers of all abilities and publishing experience,
mingle freely, sharing information. People have shared that they have enjoyed
“the wonderful willingness to share what writers know, camaraderie, the
connections with both faculty and participants, the caliber of faculty,
beautiful setting, enthusiastic conference attendees and organizers”.

What are you excited
about in this year’s lineup?
I am excited to see how Naomi Shihab Nye
infuses the conference with her experience in all three genres – poetry,
fiction, and non-fiction. I’m also excited about the depth of interesting
experience of our entire faculty. This is a very multi-faceted group, bringing
experience from every part of the country and a really eclectic set of workshop
and panel topics. The post-conference session is especially compelling this

Are there plans for
changes or additions in the future?
This year we have added two exciting new
elements; a special edition Broadside will be available and a silent auction of
“literary”- related, fun items contributed by participants and supporters will
be held our last evening’s readings.

Where can writers go to
sign up and learn more?

Anything else you’d like
to mention?

The Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference is a wonderful way for writers to gain new
skills and insights, but also it’s a chance to network with other Alaskan
writers and meet new friends with a shared passion for the literary arts and
the critical role literature serves in our world. The writing community in
Alaska can be very spread out, and for those living in smaller communities,
this is a way to forge connections that can sustain your writing practice
outside the conference. 

Lynn Lovegreen writes Sweet Alaska Historicals, novels set in the Gold Rush era.
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