Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

Photo courtesy of Christina Whiting
First of all, we’d like to express our appreciation to everyone who participated in last Friday’s Write-a-thon – a great time was had by all at Snow City Café as you created new work and raised money for 49 Writers! We’ll have a full report for you next week. 
Special thanks go to MC Jonathan Bower for handling the role with aplomb; Write-a-thon coordinator Michelle Saport for her hard work behind the scenes; 49 Writers board member Jeremy Pataky for stepping in to oversee the all-important details; and Snow City Café for their fabulous food and smiling staff. We truly appreciate our loyal sponsors too, who donated a great selection of items for the prizes and drawings: Bear Tooth, Great Harvest Bread, Moose’s Tooth, Raven’s Brew Coffee, Snow City Cafe, Spenard Roadhouse, and Title Wave Books.
Yes, I’m back at my desk after an intense three weeks in Austria, training English language teachers with a friend from the University of Innsbruck and spreading the word about Alaska literature. My travels were capped by a weekend in Krakow with Alaskan writer Kathleen Tarr, one highlight of which was a meeting with the dynamic young people who are running the Krakow Festival and The Book Institute. They are most interested in what’s happening in Alaska and the USA, and shared many great materials and ideas. What a treat to visit the new UNESCO City of Literature! Look for a future post from Ms Tarr about living in literary Poland.
I can’t thank Lynn DeFilippo enough for taking over the roundup in my absence: please thank her too next time you see her! It makes all the difference when you can count on someone to share the load and keep getting the word out to our blog followers about all the exciting things happening in literary Alaska.

This year’s Tutka Bay Writers Retreat with Carolyn Forché is now full! But don’t despair, we have started a waitlist – if you’re still interested, please email Cancellations do happen as life is unpredictable.

49 Writers author events coming up in April & May

  • Thursday, Apr. 24, 7pm, Great Harvest Bread Co., Anchorage: Reading & Craft Talk with Elise Patkotak, “The World of Self-Publishing and Why”
  • Saturday, Apr. 26, 9am-12pm, 645 W. 3rd Avenue, Anchorage: Digital tools for the Creative Writer, a class with Lawrence Weiss
  • Saturday, Apr. 26, 1-3pm, Juneau Arts & Humanities Council: Every Day a Victory: How to organize your life to write that book you’ve always talked about, a workshop with award-winning Sitka author John Straley. Click here to register.
  • Wednesday, May 14 & Saturday, May 17, Anchorage Museum: “The Pressure is Off: Independent Publishing Options for Writers” with Dana Stabenow and Deb Vanasse.
  • Register here for Anchorage classes.
Around the State

Tonight, Friday, Apr. 18, 7pm, UAS Egan Library, Juneau: Gifts of the Crow: How perception, emotion, and thought allow smart birds to behave like humans, featuring author John Marzluff. Prof. Marzluff will discuss his research on animal minds, social learning and fear learning and continue the conversation of this year’s One Campus One Book theme, human-animal communication. Sponsored by the UAS One Campus One Book Committee and the School of Arts and Sciences.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Apr. 19, 11am: Fireside Books, Palmer. Time Travel with Bonnye Matthews! Meet the author of the award-winning historical fiction Winds of Change series: Ki’ti’s Story, Manak-na’s Story, and Zamimolo’s Story. Whether you’ve started into this fascinating series or are ready to pick up the newly-published third book, come on by Fireside Books and take the opportunity to chat with Bonnye!

Monday Apr. 21, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: poet John Morgan and artist Kesler Woodward present River of Light. Morgan’s River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir, from University of Alaska Press, is based on a trip down the Copper River. Alongside the artwork by Alaskan artist Kesler Woodward, River of Light folds words, sounds, and color into being.

Thursday, Apr. 24, 2:30pm: Celebrate National Poetry in Your Pocket Day by carrying a favorite poem in your pocket and sharing it with your friends, family, even random strangers you bump into throughout the day! Don’t have a poem? Drop by Fireside Books in Palmer and we’ll have some perfect pocket-sized poems ready for you to share!

Thursday, Apr. 24, 4-7:30pm, Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Anchorage: don’t miss the book release and signing for David Stevenson (Letters from Chamonix) and Justin Herrmann (Highway One, Antarctica). It’s always great to celebrate new publications from UAA MFA faculty and graduates!

Friday, Apr. 25, 7-9pm: Springtime in Alaska Brings Yellow Umbrellas from the Alaska Quarterly Review! Join them for the book launch party in Anchorage at TapRoot (3300 Spenard Road) and enjoy a night of jazz, conversation, cocktails, and readings from AQR’s featured poets Joan Naviyuk Kane, Eva Saulitis, and Sean Hill. Admission $7. The latest and 31st edition includes a wide variety of compelling short stories, provocative essays and poems from more than 35 different poets. Purchase a copy for $8.95 at bookstores throughout Alaska or on the web at

Friday, Apr. 25, 7pm, UAS Egan Lecture Hall, Juneau, 7pm: Don’t miss the launch of the latest issues of Tidal Echoes, a literary and art journal that showcases the art and writing of Southeast Alaskans, published by UAS. 2014 featured author Christy NaMee Eriksen, featured artist Rachael Juzeler and some of the writers published in the this year’s edition will present and share some of their works.
Saturday Apr. 26, 7pm, UAF English Department will host their annual public reading of Masters in Creative Writing candidates, in the Fairbanks Art Association Bear Gallery, third floor of the Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts, Pioneer Park, 2300 Airport Way.

April 25-27, Prince William Sound Community College, Valdez, hosts Writing Down the Wild, a three-day workshop for creative nonfiction writers. This non-credit community workshop will be taught by Alaskan nature and wilderness writer Bill Sherwonit. The course will examine and practice the steps necessary to powerful and effective nature writing and will include time outdoors in the local landscape, along with readings and discussions. Registration limited to 12 students: click here for more information.

Saturday Apr. 26, 2-4pm, Ann Stevens Room in the Loussac Library: Celebrate the Bard’s birthday at Shakespeare’s Sonnets, a reading celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday and of Poetry Month. There’s still time to practice your favorite sonnet, and even don a costume!
May 1-3 in Anchorage, The Alaska State Council on the Arts, in partnership with the Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation, will hold its 2014 statewide arts conference, Latitude: 2014 Alaska Arts Convergence, This conference offers opportunities for artists and arts professionals from throughout Alaska to network, learn valuable skills, participate in artistic activities and think big about the future of the arts in Alaska, and will interest arts professionals, artists, arts educators, volunteers, board members, and cross-sector leaders interested in how the arts can support Alaskans and Alaskan communities. $250 registration.

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

Wednesday, Apr. 30: There’s still time to participate in The Salmon Project’s haiku contest! You can enter as many times as you’d like, and the winning contestants will win great prizes including gift certificates to local sporting goods shops and salmon love swag. All entries must be received by midnight. Email your haiku(s), along with your name and phone number, to social@salmonproject.orgClick here for more information. 

Wednesday, Apr. 30: The Alaska Center for the Book annual Contributions to Literacy in Alaska (CLIA) Awards recognize people and institutions that have made a significant contribution in literacy, the literary arts, or the preservation of the written or spoken word in Alaska. The nomination form and information on past winners is available at For more information on the contest, call (907) 764-1604 or e-mail

Wednesday, Apr. 30: Poems in Place has extended their open call for poetry. The project will place a poem by an Alaskan writer in each of the seven regions of the Alaska State Park’s system in the coming years. Both original work and nominated poems submitted by appreciative readers will be considered for Independence Mine State Historical Park, near Palmer, and Lake Aleknagik State Recreation Site/ Wood Tikchik State Park, near Dillingham. No submission fees. An honorarium will be paid to the winning poets. See for more information, contest rules and entry form. 

Thursday, May 1: The Extreme Weather Mystery Readers Journal 30:2 will focus on Crime Fiction that takes place or involves Extreme Weather (snow, hurricane, blizzard, sand storm, etc.). They are looking for articles, reviews, and author essays. Author essays: 500-1500 words, first person, about yourself, your books & the “Extreme Weather” connection. Email for more info.
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 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 13-17: Kachemak 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 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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