Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

Most of us are still on a high from the Tutka Bay Writers Retreat last weekend with poet Carolyn Forché. It was an unforgettable learning experience and many participants generated strong new work in the form of poetry and memoir prose. Carolyn’s teaching focused us and inspired us to find new ways to create and to look at work in progress. Dinah Berland from California, a long-time editor at the Getty Museum, sums it up for all of us in her Ode to Tutka Bay.
Carolyn Forché

O, Tutka Bay, you give us silence
and the opposite of silence:
Seashells turning eager ears toward
their teacher, the deep and brilliant sea.
Rain investigating pine needles
all night long with millions of miniature
magnifying glasses. Mosses drinking dew
with countless tongues. Mountains
like elephants, remembering
everything. This is what you give:
A yellow moon, almost full, holding
its pitted face up to the dark side of the earth,
the earth tipping its white hat to the sun
just long enough to show its hand
of Northern Lights arcing across
the whole dome of the sky
yet leaving space enough between the lines
for a tub overflowing with bioluminescent
poets, each in his or her own way,
composing odes to Tutka Bay.

Thank you, as always, to our host Kirsten Dixon, and to the amazing staff at Tutka Bay Lodge. And we could not have pulled this off without the support of volunteer retreat coordinator Morgan Grey and board member Jeremy Pataky, who led a breakout session.
Talking of Morgan, she deserves congratulations for receiving this year’s Jason Wenger Award for Fiction from the UAA MFA program. Congratulations also go to the other award recipients, Erica Watson (nonfiction) and Emily Kurn (poetry). You may remember Emily as the folk musician who performed with Dan Beachy-Quick in our summer 2012 Synergies program.

David Stevenson

David Stevenson launched our fall season last night with a Reading & Craft Talk at Great Harvest Bread Company about “teasing fiction from fact” in his collection of short stories and a novella, Letters from Chamonix. Characters and places (namely mountains) may be based on the real experiences of a lifetime, but fiction provides the opportunity to play with the question, “What if?” In the case of the story “Steinway,” he imagines “What if I fell from this 3,000 foot peak?” After that, book sales were brisk–and we highly recommend acquiring this extraordinary work.

We would like to thank each donor who pledged part of their PFD to 49 Writers this year in our first ever Pick.Click.Give. campaign. Would you believe we were the beneficiary of 49 donors?? Together you contributed $2,300 to help us pursue our mission of supporting the artistic development of writers throughout Alaska, fostering a writing community, and building an audience for literature. You know who you are but at this point we don’t–however, we can tell you that your generosity is deeply appreciated.

Our fall membership drive starts up soon: look for details within the next week. Your continuing support helps us to maintain our programming. If you’re not a member or your membership has lapsed, we hope you’ll consider making a financial contribution so we can grow our capacity to serve more communities around Alaska.

The tenuous funding situation of the Alaska Quarterly Review continues to attract attention in Alaska and around the country. AWP is the latest to comment and 49 Writers member Lila Vogt penned an impassioned letter to the editor in yesterday’s Alaska Dispatch News. As a reminder, if you wish to express your opinion to UAA officials, you can contact Chancellor Tom Case at, cc Renee Carter-Chapman (Senior Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, Engagement, and Academic Support) at

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.

Are you a published author? Do you have a book or books to sell? Register now for the Great Alaska Book Fair, in conjunction with Alaska Book Week, on Saturday, Oct. 11, 9am-6pm at Loussac Library. All Alaskan writers are invited to participate: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Memoir, Picture Books, and Romance–and everything in between! Visit the Alaska Writers Guild website for more information and to register.

September events at 49 Writers

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.

Sept. 30, 6pm, 645 W. 3rd Avenue, Anchorage: Exploring the Possibilities of Publishing with a University Press. 49 Writers hosts Regan Huff, Senior Acquisitions Editor at University of Washington Press, who will gave a talk and answer questions from writers with a nonfiction project that might be of interest to the Press. To pre-register for this free event, please click the link to sign up. Ms Huff is also scheduling one-on-one appointments with potential authors who have a book-length nonfiction project about the Northwest, including Alaska. Contact rhuff(at)uw(dot)edu to schedule. If you have a proposal and sample chapter to share, she would love to see it; otherwise, a short description would be fine to start.

Events in Anchorage

Tonight, 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.

This weekend, 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. 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.

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Exploring the World of What If? (that question, again): A Discussion with Speculative and Science Fiction Authors Sean Schubert, G.M. Whitley and Don Rearden. Author Sean Schubert discusses his zombie 4 books– “Infection”, “Containment”, “Mitigation” and just released “Resolution”. Author G.M. Whitley discusses her futuristic 4 books –“Basic Living”, “Peace Out”, “Sanctuar”, and just released “Essentia”. And author Don Rearden discusses his speculative fiction books—”Raven’s Gift” and the yet to be printed “Moving Salmon Bay” (currently published in France).

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 

Tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 13, 3pm, Fireside Books in Palmer: Visit with Alaskan writers Andy Hall and David Stevenson, who will be available to chat about mountains and mountaineering. Andy Hall is the author of Denali’s Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak. It’s the gripping, well-researched telling of the famous rescue attempt on Denali. David Stevenson is the chair of the UAA Creative Writing and Literary Arts Department at UAA. His collection of stories, Letters from Chamonix, explores the wild.

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 5:30-7:30pm, Hearthside Books at the Nugget Mall, Juneau: How to Outline a Screenplay, a free workshop for all ages facilitated by Sheila Jenca, a professional screenwriter with an MFA from UCLA Film School. This how-to workshop is tailored to those desiring to step into their dream of writing a screenplay. Lecture, exercises, and group interaction will give you the tools to start your script right away! For more information, visit the Hearthside Books website.

Friday, Sept. 19, 8pm, UAS Housing Lodge, Juneau: Woosh Kinaadeiyí will host an open mic and poetry slam open to poets and performers of all ages and abilities. Sign up to perform opens at 8pm and show starts at 8:15pm. Event is pay-as-you-can. This slam is the last chance for poets to qualify for entry in the Grand Slam. Woosh Kinaadeiyí is a local nonprofit committed to diversity, inclusive community, and empowering voice. The organization hosts monthly poetry slams and open mics throughout the community. Learn more at Contact: Christy NaMee Eriksen, Woosh Kinaadeiyí President,

Opportunities for Alaskan Writers

NEW! Following last year’s success, the Young Writers Conference, Generation U is looking for 20-30 authors/writing experts who wish to present at this year’s conference. The conference will be held at East High School on Saturday, Nov. 8, 9am-2pm. Sessions should actively engage students in writing. Students have asked for sessions on: self-editing skills, research skills, non-fiction, creating believable characters, writing and technology, action-packed writing, song writing, publishing their writing, writing screenplays, scientific writing, plot development, artistic journaling and science fiction. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please complete this short form. For more information, contact Lisa Weight at or 907-742-4476.

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.

The Anchorage Press Post-It Note Art Contest is here again! Deadline to submit is Sept. 15, 5pm, Each entry must be drawn on one 3×3 post-it note and mounted on durable card stock or foam core of at least 5×5 inches. Each entry must have contact information securely attached. Entries become the property of the Anchorage Press. This year’s categories include the Story on a Post-It, so this is your chance to shine with short prose. Deliver your entries to the Anchorage Press, 540 East 5th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501. Questions? Call 907-561-7737.

NEW! The Denali Park Writer-in-Residence application period closes the end of this month. 2014 summer writers included Tom Sexton and Angela Morales. Apply now for winter or summer residencies. Visit to learn more.

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! The registration deadline for Alaska Poetry Out Loud is October 15! Complete information and registration for the program is available at the Alaska Poetry Out Loud website. Not sure you’re ready to register, but interested in discussing the program? We will host two, informational teleconferences on Sept. 23 & 30, 3:30pm. You can RSVP for one of these teleconferences here.

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. Click here for more information. 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.

Scroll to Top