Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

Ken Post entertains us with a story about Scrabble
with an Alaskan twist
What a great turnout at last night’s Resolve to Write gathering in Juneauthe energy and enthusiasm in the room were palpable! Member Sarah Isto provided the perfect setting and we thank her for welcoming Juneau’s writers to her home. Thanks too to 49 Writers board member Joan Pardes for organizing the program of readings, and to Sarah Isto, Bridget Smith, Ken Post, Jonas Lamb, Missy McMillian, and Ann Boochever for sharing their poems and stories with us. Joan will be organizing a bi-monthly writers group in Juneau, starting in February: if you’re interested, contact her at 49 Writers is working on a schedule of creative writing workshops in Juneau in 2014 and will announce developments in this blog and in our e-newsletter. Contact us if you’d like to go on that mailing list.

Exciting news for upper-Mat-Su residents: we have scheduled our first workshop in Talkeetna, in partnership with the Denali Arts Council! Christine Byl, temporary resident of the town this winter, has graciously offered to teach the following class: she’s a wonderful instructor, so don’t miss this opportunity. “The Good, The Bad, and the Buggy: Writing the Complexities of Place” will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6-8pm, at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar in Talkeetna. How can anyone resist a workshop with a title like that? Click here for more information and to register. Thank you to Christine and to DAC director Colleen Coulon Love for making this possible.

We’re also pleased to announce the following two workshops, in collaboration with the Alaska Writers Guild, taught by Ali McCart of Indigo Editing, who writes and edits from her home in Metlakatla. Members of 49 Writers will be able to register at the AWG member rate. Registration will be up on the AWG website soon.

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 6-9pm: Nonfiction Platforms, Proposals, and Pitches that Turn Heads. Writing a nonfiction book proposal and submitting it to publishers is a lot like sending an audition video in to a reality TV show–which is to say it’s a daunting task. We might ask questions like: What’s this platform thing, and how do I stand on it? What do they want to see? Do I talk about myself or just my idea? Does appearance matter? Should I sing and dance or just talk? How will I know if they liked it? All these questions and more will be addressed in this three-hour workshop on nonfiction proposals.

Thursday, Feb. 19, 6-9 pm: Fantastic First Impressions for Fiction Writers. Whether you’re sending out query letters or pitching to agents at a conference, first impressions of your fiction matter. A lot. It’s not just about making sure your commas are in the right places, although that’s important. It’s also about the grace of your plot arc, the chemistry between your characters, the uniqueness of your voice, your creativity within genre conventions, and of course, how you relay all this in the limited space of a query letter or pitch.

TONIGHT: Friday, Jan. 10, 7pm, Jitters, Eagle River: The Living Room: Eagle River Writers Read presents an evening of community readings. Come listen to stories, poems, excerpts from favorite books, and more. After the readings, mix and mingle, and sample cookies! Free and open to the public.

TOMORROW, Saturday, Jan. 11, 7pm, Hugi-Lewis Gallery, 1008 W. Northern Lights Blvd, Anchorage: Come out for the double launch of Cirque, # 9, a literary journal for Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, and Defiance Street: Poems and other writing, by poet and Cirque editor, Sandra Kleven. Poet Tony Mares calls this Cirque issue, “beautiful, truly beautiful.” Cirque contributors, Jerry McDonnell, Vered Mares, Julie LeMay, Nathan Shafer, and Jocelyn Paine will be reading. Dan Everett will play the electric auto-harp. Anne Caston, poet and essayist, says, “In her new collection of poems, Defiance Street, Sandra Kleven soars, wildly creative, using language as a ringmaster uses his whip: to move the beasts around the ring and into the light.” Kleven will read from Defiance Street accompanied by Patrick Minock on Yup’ik drum.

TOMORROW, Saturday, Jan. 11, 7pm, Bear Gallery in Pioneer Park: Fairbanks Arts Association will host the Ice Fog Open Mic. Bring your best work and join fellow Fairbanks writers for this annual event. For more information, call 456-6485, ext. 226.

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 7pm, Hugi-Lewis Studio: First Poetry Parley of the year! January’s featured poet is Jason Eisert, who has selected Raymond Carver as the marque poet. If you’d like to read some Carver poems, please contact

Saturday, Jan. 18, 6pm, K-Bay Caffè in Homer: Local poets and authors will gather to read aloud the work of poet William Stafford. William Stafford has been influential for many local writers not only because of the scope of his work, but because of his advocacy for peace and his work as a teacher. Stafford was a prolific writer who published over 70 volumes of poetry, including the National Book Award winner Traveling Through the Dark. In 1970, he was named Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, a position that is now known as Poet Laureate. He served as Oregon’s Poet Laureate for fifteen years, and taught at Lewis & Clark College for more than thirty.

Seeking poems. Poems in Place, a unique collaboration between Alaska Center for the Book, Alaska State Parks, a steering committee of poets and writers, and residents of Alaska, will place a poem written by an Alaskan writer in each of the seven regions of the Alaska State Park’s system in the coming years. From Jan. 15–Mar. 15, 2014, Poems in Place will be accepting poems, both original work and nominated poems written by Alaskan writers and submitted by appreciative readers, for Independence Mine State Historical Park, near Palmer, and Aleknagik State Recreation Site/Wood Tikchik State Park, near Dillingham. No submission fees. An honorarium will be paid to the winning poets. For more information, contest rules and entry form please visit Poems in Place at To see examples of current Poems in Place signs visit the Alaska State Parks website.

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 6:50pm: Long-time professor at UAF’s Chukchi College in Kotzebue, Susan Andrews (humanities and journalism) is offering a newly developed memoir-writing class during spring semester 2014, starting today. “Reporting on Your Life Through Memoir” is a three-credit, semester-long journalism course designed for students who wish to record their life story for college credit. This memoir course, JRN F393 (CRN: 38797), will be offered by audio-conference. Distance education students can take this class from anywhere in Alaska or Outside with successful completion of English 111 or permission from the instructor. Class meets Tuesdays. For information, contact Professor Andrews at 907-442-3400 or Chukchi registrar Mary Booth-Barger at 907-442-3400 or 1-800-478-3402.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 7-9:30pm, at the downtown Anchorage Sierra Club office, essayist and author Bill Sherwonit will begin teaching a 12-week nature and travel writing class, registration fee $240. Participants in this workshop-style class will explore and refine their own writing styles, with an emphasis on the personal essay form, as well as reading and discussing works by some of America’s finest nature and travel writers. Contact Sherwonit at 245-0283 or to sign up or for more information.

Thursday, Jan. 30, Juneau Arts & Culture Center: Buy your tickets now for the Governor’s Awards for the Arts & Humanities 2014 at or by calling 907-586-ARTS. Questions? Call the Alaska State Council on the Arts at 907-269-6610 or the Alaska Humanities Forum at 907-272-5313. The VIP reception at the Alaska State Museum begins at 5pm, followed by the 6pm opening reception at JACC and the awards ceremony at 7pm.

Daryl Farmer, author of  Bicycling Beyond the Divide
Saturday, Feb. 15, 9am–4pm, McCafferty’s Coffee House in Fairbanks: Writing in the Dark, a workshop by local author Daryl Farmer. This class is designed to help you generate new materials, gather ideas, and rejuvenate your writing. The registration fee of $35 includes breakfast and lunch. Register after Feb. 1 is $40. For more information, call 456-6485, ext. 226.

The application period for the Rasmuson Foundation’s Individual Artist Awards is now open. Check here for more information about how to apply. This could be your year!

Fairbanks Arts Association’s Literary Arts Committee is now accepting entries for the 20th Annual Poetry Contest. The purpose of the contest is to encourage, publicize and reward the writing of high quality poetry. The deadline is Friday, Jan. 31, 6pm and winners will be announced March 8, 2014, 7pm at Fairbanks Arts Association’s Bear Gallery. This year’s juror is Anchorage poet, Susanna J. Mishler. Click here to download the flier.

Are you interested in nature writing? Juneau writer Scott Burton is teaching an online class during the spring semester for UAS, starting next week. Study Edward Abbey and other writers and write your own passages. The class includes plenty of insightful reading, writing, and a few field trips. Prof. Burton will scan and post all readings for the first two weeks to give latecomers a chance to get books. Prospective students should go here to register: ENGL S363, KDI 38590.

Writers, Poets, and Story Tellers are invited to submit poems and stories to Juneau’s One Billion Rising for Justice about the the empowerment of women moving toward a world without violence against women and girls, with justice for all. Get more info about the international One Billion Rising movement here. See Eve Ensler’s 2013 poem to get idea of what we are looking for. Must be less than four minutes in length for consideration. Winning piece to be selected by the Juneau One Billion Rising planning committee and all entrants will be contacted including winner by February 10. The winning selection may be read at our Friday, February 14, 2014 Juneau One Billion Rising event at noon at the atrium of the State Office Building and at 2:15 at UAS Mourant Plaza. Writers are encouraged to post their writings on the international One Billion Rising website. Thank you for your participation in creating a world without violence against women!

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