Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

Today is the deadline for early registration for Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference: if you plan to attend, sign up now and save! Registration will remain open until June 12. Early registration is $375 and thereafter it’s $395. See below for more details or visit the conference website. This year’s keynote speaker is Alice Sebold and the fine faculty includes Heidi Bell, Rich Chiappone, Tracy Daugherty, Kwame Dawes, Debby Dahl Edwardson, Katherine Fausset, Erin Coughlin Hollowell, Holly Hughes, Tom Kizzia, Nancy Lord, Lee Martin, Benjamin Percy, Scott Russell Sanders, Marjorie Sandor, Eva Saulitis, Peggy Shumaker, and Sherry Simpson. Eowyn Ivey will be there as a special guest speaker.

With our spring season winding down (although there is still plenty happening in Juneau, where more than 20 percent of our members live), our thoughts are now turning to fall. If you are interested in teaching for 49 Writers and meet the instructor criteria, we’d love to see a course proposal from you – deadline is June 15.

Participants in the Chugiak-Eagle River workshop

Our Anchorage Remembers project is accepting submissions to the Anchorage Centennial anthology. Later this year, 49 Writers will publish an anthology of personal stories written by Municipality of Anchorage residents, 50 years and older, who have memories of Anchorage and Chugiak-Eagle River over the years to share with the community. January through March, we offered a series of free memoir-writing workshops in various locations to help eligible residents to craft their stories for submission. We encourage everyone who participated in a workshop to submit their work! If you have a story but did not attend a workshop, we are happy to consider your submission too. This project is supported by a Centennial Community grant awarded by the Alaska Humanities Forum and Anchorage Centennial Committee.

A total of 56 people registered for the memoir workshops offered in the first quarter of the year. Our great team of instructors – Sue Pope, Louise Freeman, Cheryl Lovegreen, Judith Conte, and Becky Saleeby – received a 98% satisfaction rating! Comments included “The instructors were generous, knowledgeable, and supportive. It was a wonderful experience.” and “Great seminar for all levels of writing.” Click here for more information and to submit.

Upcoming 49 Writers classes

  • Wednesday, May 14 & Saturday, May 17, Anchorage Museum: “The Pressure is Off: Independent Publishing Options for Writers” with Dana Stabenow and Deb Vanasse. Still a couple of slots left! Click here here to register.
  • Thursday, May 15, 6-9pm, Juneau Arts & Humanities Council: “Writing in 360⁰,” a class with The Raven’s Gift author Don Rearden, returning by popular demand. Click here to register.
  • Monday, June 2, 6-9pm, Juneau Arts & Humanities Council: “Perspective & Viewpoints” with Deb Vanasse. Click here to register.
Anchorage events

Tomorrow, Saturday, May 3, 12-4pm, Barnes & Noble, Anchorage: First-time author Glen Kinkhart shares his memoir, Finding Bethany, about working as a homicide detective in Alaska. The book is already flying off the shelves! Stop by to meet the author and get your personalized copy.

Monday, May 19, 4pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Michelle Theall presents Teaching the Cat to Sit, a memoir about growing up gay and Catholic in the Texas Bible Belt. In it she courageously comes to terms with the role of religion, motherhood and family in living a full, loving life. Theall has received numerous awards for her health, travel, sports and fitness articles and work with in Women’s Adventure magazine. Currently she is editor of Alaska Magazine.

May 20-July 29, Tuesdays, 5:30-8:15pm: Join the UAA creative writing community this summer by taking a multi-genre Creative Writing class (CRN 50367). Th is weekly course will introduce you to the works of renowned writers from Alaska and Outside who will be on campus in July. You will read their texts and practice writing techniques in each of the major genres. In July, we will attend a series of literary readings, meeting up close the writers we have been studying all semester. Students and local writers are encouraged to register for this course. Contact Prof. Aisha Barnes at or 786-4363 for more information.

Wednesday, May 21, 7-8:30pm, Loussac Library Innovation Lab: the monthly meeting of the Alaska Writers Guild features David Brown, author of Deacon’s Crossbow, in “Battle of the Book Tour.” David will share the ins and out, ups and downs of preparing and setting out on a book tour. Join the discussion with other members, which will include such topics as independent book publication, book tours, and marketing/platforming strategies.

Tuesday, May 27, 4-6pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: 49 Writers member Donna Mack presents a discussion of her recently published novel Whispered Secrets Whispered Prayers. The story is based in North Dakota in 1947 and is about a German family who immigrated from the Ukraine. Mack is a NEA award winner with a MFA in creative writing from UAA. For many in Alaska, she is known as the owner of One People, an iconic Anchorage shop that featured arts and crafts from around the globe.

Wednesday, May 28, 7pm, Hugi-Lewis Studio: Poetry Parley will feature Susanna Mishler, reading from her newly-released collection, Termination Dust. Save the date now! Marquee poet will be Larry Levis. Readers are needed! If interested, contact

Around the State

Thursday, May 8, 4pm, Juneau Downtown Library: UAS is hosting a posse of Russian poets at a round table event and they are looking for poets and writers to participate (translator provided). If you’d like to join the conversation, feel to come by and watch or participate. If you want to participate, bring your published work or anything you are working on. Readings will be limited to a few minutes each.

Saturday, May 10, 11:30am, Fireside Books in Palmer: Author of the national bestselling The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Stephanie Thornton will be signing her newest novel, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt! When not writing, Stephanie teaches history in Chugiak.

Tuesday, May 13, 3:15pm, Juneau member Annie Boochever, author of Bristol Bay Summer, will be featured in “A Juneau Afternoon” on KTOO pubic radio.

Thursday, May 15, 12pm, Alaska State Historical Libary: Annie Boochever will give a presentation.

Outside events of interest to Alaskans

The incomparable Peggy Shumaker continues to criss-cross the country in the service of literature. If you have friends or family in either place, be sure to let them know this is an opportunity not to be missed:

  • Monday, May 5, 7pm,  City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco: Reading by Peggy Shumaker with Kate Gale and Doug Kearney
  • Thursday, May 8,  7pm, Poetry Foundation, Chicago: Reading by Peggy Shumaker with B. H. Fairchild

June 22-28, poet Camille Dungy, who recently visited Alaska, will be leading a five-day workshop at this year’s Minnesota Northwoods Conference,  For a schedule and descriptions of the workshops to be taught by the distinguished faculty, please visit

Upcoming deadlines for nominations and submissions
Today, Friday, May 2: 360North’s new statewide television series, “Writers’ Showcase,” is looking for fiction and creative non-fiction for their live recording on June 5. Inspired by NPR’s “Selected Shorts,” the show uses actors and celebrities as readers. They are especially interested in fiction for this episode. The show’s summer-inspired theme is “endurance,” and they want pieces that are set in summer or reflect the theme of endurance, and are five to twelve minutes long when read aloud. Visit for more information. You can contact the shows producers with questions, or submit directly to to
Wednesday, May 14: The 2014 Anchorage Press Super Shorts Micro Fiction contest is now underway. Winners in each category will have their stories published in a special Super Shorts issue of the Press. Fabulous prizes to be announced later! Check out the Anchorage Press for details.

Literary happenings in Alaska this summer

May 28-31: This year’s North Words Writers Symposium in beautiful Skagway, Southeast Alaska, features popular British-American writer Simon Winchester as keynote author, joined by an Alaska-Yukon faculty that includes Nora Marks Dauenhauer, Richard Dauenhauer, Nick Jans, Marcel Jolley, Heather Lende, Lael Morgan, John Straley, and Deb Vanasse. For full information, visit the conference website.

June 6-8, Tonglen Lake Lodge, Denali: Writing workshop with Sherry Simpson, Tiny Masters: Turning Personal Experience Into Personal Essays. Click here for details.

June 8-14: Prince William Sound Community College hosts the 2014 Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez. The invited 68 plays include writers from across the United States and internationally from the United Kingdom. There are 8 Alaskans invited to present their work, including 3 from Anchorage, 2 from Juneau, and 1 apiece from Fairbanks, Ketchikan, and Valdez. Alaskan playwrights include Jill Bess (Anchorage, AK), Simple Melody, Linda Billington (Anchorage, AK), A Duct Tale, Clint Jefferson Farr (Juneau, AK), The Kindness of Strangers, P. Shane Mitchell (Anchorage AK), Veritas, Tom Moran (Fairbanks AK), God On Our Side, Mollie Ramos (Valdez, AK), Snowmageddon, Barbara Shepherd (Juneau, AK), Ghost Stories, Norma Thompson (Ketchikan, AK), Missing Something?, and alternate Mark Muro (Anchorage, AK), Nocturne on 166th Street.

June 13-17Kachemak Bay Writers Conference takes place in Homer, with keynote speaker Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones). This year’s post-conference workshop at Tutka Bay Lodge, Personal Stories and Great Realities, will be led by Scott Russell Sanders, June 17-19.

June 26-29: Stillpoint Lodge in Halibut Cove hosts a writers retreat, The Pen & The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World, with Holly Hughes. How do we create space for writing in a world crowded with so many distractions? Learn mindfulness practices to provide support for writing and other forms of creativity. Holly co-authored the book The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World. Her collection of poems. Sailing by Ravens, is part of the University of Alaska Press’s 2014 Alaska Literary Series.

July 20-26The Island Institute hosts the Sitka Symposium at Sheldon Jackson Campus in Sitka. This year’s theme, “Radical Imagining: Changing the Story With Stories of Change” will explore dominant narratives of our culture in relation to the challenges of our time, and consider empowering stories of transformative change initiated by people in communities large and small. Leading the Symposium will be Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabekwe author, activist, mother, and Green Party vice-presidential running mate to Ralph Nader; Luis Alberto Urrea, critically acclaimed author of thirteen books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, American Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist; Alan Weisman, best-selling author of The World Without Us and winner of the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Award for his latest book, Countdown; and Molly Sturges, co-founder and Artistic Director of Santa Fe’s renowned Littleglobe, an artist/activist collective, and founder of the national project COAL, a musical fable and catalyst for climate engagement.

July 22-28: The Wrangell Mountain Writing Workshop in McCarthy presents: True Story, with Tom Kizzia, Frank Soos, and Nancy Cook. During this five-day workshop, writers will explore the craft of creative nonfiction: drafting compelling narratives that tell true stories. How can writers craft a meaningful, readable page-turner while working in the confines of the frequently controversial truth of “what actually happened.” Click here for more information.

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