Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

By the time you read this I’ll be in Homer, waiting to meet up with the very diverse and accomplished group of poets and memoirists who will be participating in this year’s Tutka Bay Writers Retreat led by distinguished poet Carolyn Forché. We’ll bring you a full report next week, and post a photo album to the 49 Writers Facebook page.

Carolyn Forché

Last night, Carolyn gave a public reading to a substantial audience at UAA KPC’s Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer. She treated us to some new poems from a collection that’s finished but not yet released to the world, and her powerful words and beautiful rendition elicited spontaneous applause from one appreciative attendee. It was good to see four of out retreat writers there–well worth braving the early drive to Homer in torrential rain.

Supporters of AQR continue to come forward from around the country. The latest is Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser of Nebraska, who attests to the fact that “literary magazines, like Alaska Quarterly Review, play an essential role in the cultural life of America.” Read the full text of his letter to the Alaska Dispatch News here.

It’s that time of year when the “Best American” series are published and we’re very pleased to share the news that 2014 Best American Essay “Notables” include three fine Alaskan writers: Eva Saulitis, Bill Sherwonit, and David Stevenson. To check out other favorite writers of yours who might have made this year’s “Notables,” click here. Note that David is giving a Reading & Craft Talk for us next week (see below) and Bill, our September guest blogger, is teaching a class at the Sierra Club that starts on September 17.

Have you signed up yet for Alaska Book Week? This year it falls October 4-11 and preparations are taking place around the state for this celebration of Alaska’s writers and their books. Visit the website at and click here to complete a participation form. You can contact ABW coordinator Jathan Day with questions at akbookweek (at) gmail (dot) com.

September events at 49 Writers

Thursday, Sept. 11, 7pm, Great Harvest Bread Company: Reading & Craft Talk by David Stevenson–“Letters from Chamonix: Teasing Fiction from Fact.” Thanks to the bakery for continuing to host this popular series, and to poster designer Lucian Childs for volunteering his graphic expertise!

Click here for full details of the Crosscurrents Southeast program featuring Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes, funded in part by the Alaska Humanities Forum and National Endowment for the Arts. They’ll be in Juneau, Sept. 19-21, then traveling to Sitka (Sept 22-23), Ketchikan (Sept. 24-25), with a grand finale in Craig (Sept. 26-27) with a creative writing workshop–“The Story and the Music: Fresh Approaches to Familiar Places”–and a Crosscurrents onstage conversation called  “Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn: Cultural Appropriation in Alaskan Writing.” All activities are free but pre-registration is required for the workshops.

Events in Anchorage

Tonight, Friday, Sept. 5, 7pm: Celebrate First Friday at the Anchorage Museum Chugach Gallery (4th floor) by attending this free event! Last month, a team of five traveled from the Anchorage Museum to the Northwest Arctic and back, visiting Kotzebue, Kiana, and the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes in Kobuk Valley National Park. The group consisted of a filmmaker, painter, curator, science educator, and a poet–49 Writers board member Jeremy Pataky. Members from the team will be joined by author Seth Kantner, who will discuss growing up and living along the Kobuk. Travis Gilmour’s short film about the trip will be screened and discussed. This is the last weekend to see the related Arctic Desert exhibition, featuring photos of the dunes taken by Kantner and NPS. Learn more here.

Monday, Sept. 8, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Andy Hall presents Denali Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak, an account of the 1967 Wilcox Expedition, one of the greatest climbing accidents ever to occur on the highest peak of North America. Twelve climbers attempt the ascent and only five return. Andy Hall, the son of the Denali Park Superintendent at the time, offers an intimate look into the young men on a big adventure.

Thursday, Sept. 11, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: All You Need is Love – Forging an Emotional Connection through the Stories we Write and Read. Romance authors Jennifer Bernard, Tam Linsey, Lynn Lovegreen, Miriam Matthews, and DeNise Woodbury come together to read from their books and discuss romance. This event is sponsored with Romance Writers of Alaska.

Friday, Sept. 12, 7-9pmThe Living Room begins its new program of the season at Jitters coffee house in Eagle River. Come listen to your neighbors read short stories, poetry, and spoken word of their own making, and/or work from their favorite authors. Sign up to read (, or just show up and listen. Refreshments served.

Sept. 13 & 14, the 2014 Alaska Writers Guild Annual Conference, in conjunction with
SCBWI Alaska, takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Anchorage. NEW Conference Schedule! Additional options have been added to the 2014 Conference Schedule, including new breakout sessions and topics! Click here to download a copy of the 2014 conference schedule. NEW Conference Speakers! Click here to download information on the 2014 Conference Speakers, including new speakers CC Humphreys and AdriAnne Strickland.

Optional Friday Intensives and Juried Illustrator Portfolio Displays still available: 1) Optional Intensive: Tricia Lawrence, Agent, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s Intensive: “How to Get Your Work Out There,” A nuts-and-bolts intro for artists who are great at drawing and want to get good at selling, too. 2) Optional Intensive: Lee Goodman, Author. “Publishing from Start to Finish.” After landing an agent at the 2010 Writers’ Guild Conference, Lee Goodman went on to publish his first novel, “Indefensible” with an imprint at Simon & Schuster. This intensive is a lightening quick start-to-finish look at the writing, editing, pitching, and publishing process intended for serious writers who maybe haven’t formally studied writing, but wish to take it seriously.

Already registered for the conference, but want to add other options? Click here to log in and edit your registration, or email Brooke Hartman at

Wednesday, Sept. 17, Anchorage essayist and author Bill Sherwonit will begin teaching a 12-week nature and travel writing class beginning Sept. 17, in the Sierra Club office downtown. Participants in this workshop-style class will explore and refine their own writing styles, with an emphasis on the personal essay form. The class will also read and discuss works by some of America’s finest nature and travel writers, past and present. The cost is $240. To sign up for this Wednesday night class (7 to 9:30 p.m.), or for more information, contact Sherwonit at 245-0283 or Further information about the teacher is also available at

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 7pm, Hugi-Lewis Studio, Northern Lights: Poetry Parley holds its first event of the new season. This month’s lineup includes Marilyn Borell, Leslie Fried, Jerry McDonnell, Jocelyn Paine, Mary Kancewick, Gabrielle Barnett, D. C. McKenzie, Sandra Kleven, Tonja Woelber, and Judith Stoll.

Wednesday, Sept. 24, 7-9pm, Anchorage Museum: Coming to Alaska is part of the Telling Your Alaska Stories series. Free but Space is limited; RSVP in advance at or 929-9287 with your name, contact information and the program you wish to attend.

Events around Alaska 

It was an honor to attend last weekend’s Poems in Place Dedication and Celebration at Independence Mine State Historical Park at Hatcher Pass, where Tom Sexton read his chosen poem, “Independence Mine, August” and unveiled the beautiful plaque bearing his words.

We thank everyone involved in this wonderful project, especially the Alaska Center for the Book, Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, and Poems in Place coordinator Wendy Erd.

Saturday, Sept. 6, 10am-12:30pm, School House Inn, Lake Aleknagik: Yupik Place Names and the Poetry of Place. Tim Troll and Molly Chythlook will share their knowledge of Yupik place names, the first naming of place. Join in a creative writing exercise with poet Wendy Erd. The workshop is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

Saturday, Sept. 6, 2-3pm, Lake Aleknagik Landing:  Poems in Place Dedication and Celebration. Please help celebrate the unveiling of the new Poem in Place at Lake Aleknagik State Park. Reading by selected poet Tim Troll to be followed by refreshments and celebration. To register or for more information about either event, please email

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 6-8 pm: Kenai Fine Arts Center (816 Cook Drive, Kenai) will host a book release party for Dave Acheson, whose new book, Dead Reckoning, has just been published.

Thursday, Sept. 11, 6pm, Homer Library: Author and 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jennifer Pharr Davis will present from her new book Called Again. In 2011, Pacific Crest Trail and two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis wanted to test her limits. With the support of her husband Brew and a dedicated group of volunteers dubbed the “Pit Crew,” Jen hiked, stumbled, and sometimes crawled the 2,181 mile A.T. in 46 days (an average of 47 miles per day), becoming the fastest person to hike the trail and the first woman to ever set the mark. And for that, she’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and the CBS Early Show. She will show slides from over 12,000 miles of long-distance hiking in places like Australia, Kenya, Peru, Switzerland, Scotland, Spain, Iceland, and Corsica. And she will answer questions about these and other hiking exploits.

Opportunities for Alaskan Writers
Remember that the deadline for the Winter Solstice issue of Cirque is approaching: Sept.15 for publication on Dec. 15. Visit for more information on how to submit and to read the journal full-text.

Nominations for the 2015 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities are now open. Learn more at the Alaska State Council on the Arts website. The categories are: Arts Education, Native Arts, Arts Organization and Individual Artist. In addition, the Alaska State Council on the Arts’ Literary Advisory Committee will accept nominations for the State Writer Laureate, who will be appointed by the Governor to a two year term (2015-2016). Deadline for both is October 1.

NEW! After a successful pilot season of Writers’ Showcase, 360 North statewide public television and KTOO News would like to invite Alaska writers to participate in this next season. We’re looking for short stories and creative non-fiction around the following themes:

  • Holidays, November 13 (Stories that play well in November and December. Submission deadline is Sunday, Oct. 5)
  • Journeys, March 5 (Actual or metaphorical. Submission deadline Sunday, Jan. 18)
  • Writer’s Pick, June 4 (Open theme. Submission deadline Sunday, Apr. 19)

Stories should be about 10 minutes long when read aloud and should somehow reflect the theme. Broad interpretations are welcome. Please submit pieces to “arts at ktoo dot org” and let us know of any publication history or rights.

Show format: Stories are read aloud before a live studio audience by trained actors. The program is recorded for broadcast on 360 North and KTOO-News, with the potential for broadcast on other public radio stations in the state. To watch an example from last season please click here: (

Unfortunately, we don’t have a budget to pay our writers or actors, but do find that the performance, high quality video recording, and statewide and internet exposure is usually ample. If you’re interested or have questions please email arts at ktoo dot org, or call 360 North producer Scott Burton at 907.463.6473.

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