Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

Thank you to everyone who turned out for the Wednesday Crosscurrents event featuring Sherry Simpson and Christine Byl—we were treated to a fascinating conversation on the topic of Essaying Alaska: Beyond Images of the Last Frontier and what it means to write authentically about this place we love and call home. Special thanks to our two amazing authors, and to the Anchorage Museum and staff—in particular Mark Weber, for doing a flawless job as usual of making the right books available for sale in the right quantities (you don’t appreciates the ins and out of this until you have to organize it yourself)! It was good to see so many of you at the after-party too, and to catch up on each other’s literary lives.

Talking of “Images of The Last Frontier,” a story isn’t an Alaskan story, apparently, unless it involves a bear attack. But, early in his career, Sitka author Brendan Jones resisted pressure from a publisher to embellish his writing in this way. As he should, for his fine writing about real Alaskan characters and their lives stands on its own. Those of you who joined us last night for a meet-the-author reception for 49 Writers members at Blue.Hollomon gallery in Anchorage, enjoyed a reading from several passages of his novel, The Alaskan Laundry, and insights into the long road to publication: the book will come out in fall 2015. Brendan will also be reading at the Homer Library on March 18, so don’t miss the chance to meet one of Alaskan’s promising new writers. You can also read Brendan’s blog posts here.

What an amazing venue for a reading and gathering of writers! Everyone was captivated by the exquisite and eclectic selection of art and crafts on display at the gallery, and we want to be sure to acknowledge Gina Hollomon and Georgia Blue for welcoming us and hosting the occasion so perfectly.

We hear that 49 Writers board president Don Rearden is thoroughly enjoying his author tour of Southeast Alaska this week. Look for him tonight in Haines, where he’ll give a reading at the library at 4pm. There is still space in his class at the UAS campus in Juneau tomorrow, Mar. 15, 1-4pm. Click here for more information and to register for “Complex and Conflicted Characters: What’s in Your Character’s Pocket?”

A quick roundup of upcoming activities on the 49 Writers calendar: be sure to save the dates!

  • Monday, Apr. 7, 7pm, Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library: Crosscurrents event with Luis Alberto Urrea and Bryan Fierro, “Universal Border: From Tijuana to the World.” Luis Urrea will be in Fairbanks and Homer the weekend prior for a series of events: details below.
  • Friday, Apr. 11, 6-10:30pm, Snow City Café, Anchorage: Registration is now open for the 2014 Write-a-thon: click here for information and check out yesterday’s blog post for reasons to participate
  • 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 49 Writers class with Lawrence Weiss. Click here for more information and to register.

Registration is going strong for this year’s Tutka Bay Writers Retreat with Carolyn Forché: if you’re planning to attend, Sept. 5-7, be sure to sign up soon to avoid disappointment.

There are 18 days left before the end of the PFD application period on March 31 and Pick.Click.Give is seeing an immediate success with the Double Your Dividend sweepstakes! Yes, that’s right: if you PCG when filing for your Permanent Fund Dividend, you will automatically be entered into the Sweepstakes for another dividend! If you’ve already filed but didn’t donate, it’s not too late: click here for all the details. Ten lucky people will double their dividend. Add or change your PFD application here.

Tonight, Mar. 14, 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 enjoy appetizers. Free and open to the public.

Monday, Mar. 17, 6pm, the Alaska Humanities Forum is hosting a talk in Anchorage by Professor James P. Warren, who is writing a book about John Haines and has been working in the John Haines Papers in the Rasmuson Library at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Warren has taught American and environmental literature at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, for 30 years. He has published books on Walt Whitman, on oratory and social reform in antebellum America, and on the nature writer John Burroughs. He’s recently finished editing the collected poems of Mary Austin, which will be published this spring by Syracuse University Press, and his book on Barry Lopez and the community of artists is currently under review at the University of Arizona Press. This presentation will include photos from the Richardson homestead, from the 1960s and now, and a handout of manuscript poems by John Haines.

Wednesday, Mar. 19, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: “Actor John Barrymore and the theft of a Tlingit Totem from Southeast Alaska in the 1930s” presented by Professor Steve Langdon of the UAA Anthropology Department. Learn the fascinating details of the relationship among John Barrymore, Vincent and Mary Price, a 29-foot Tlingit memorial pole and a Honolulu museum as they have been uncovered by Prof. Langdon. Discussion of John Barrymore’s theft of the pole (Kooteeya) from the unoccupied village of Tuxican, Prince of Wales Island, its subsequent travels and trophy display on the estates of Barrymore and later that of fellow actor Vincent Price, its incongruous transfer to the Honolulu Museum of Art, and its recent discovery there by Prof. Langdon in February, 2013 will highlight the presentation. Now stored in the basement of the Museum, the fate of the pole is presently being considered.

Wednesday, Mar. 19, 7pm, Hugi-Lewis Studio, 1008 W. Northern Lights: This month’s Poetry Parley features local poet Tonja Woelber and marquee poet Lucille Clifton.

Saturday, Mar. 22, 1-4pm, Barnes & Noble Anchorage: Marybeth Holleman (The Heart of the Sound – An Alaskan Paradise Found and Nearly Lost) and Mei Mei Evans (Oil and Water) will give a reading and sign books.

Friday, Mar. 28, 7-9pm, APU Carr-Gottstein Building, CMH2Hill Boardroom: Meet some of Alaska’s finest fiction writers and enjoy an opening talk by Martha Amore, APU’s Spring 2014 Writer-in-Residence. Featured authors include Don Rearden, Mei Mei Evans, Deb Vanasse, Lee Goodman, and Kris Farmen. Publisher Vered Mares of BP&D House will also be available for questions.

First Friday, Apr. 4, 8pmAnchorage Community Works: Don’t miss the the Termination Dust book release party, when local poet Susanna J. Mishler will give a reading from her recently published collection. A book signing and screening of two video poems will follow. Live music will be performed by Anna Lynch and new artworks by Ruby Suzanna will be on display. Food and a cash bar will be provided. Come meet the poet and get a signed copy of Termination Dust!

Friday Apr. 4, 7pm, UAF Wood Center: Reading by Luis Albert Urrea. A prolific and award-winning writer, Urrea is a master of laanguage and a gifted storyteller who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. As a young man he served as a relief worker among people living in the Tijuana garbage dumps prior to receiving a teaching Fellowship to Harvard University. “The border” has defined his life and colored much of his writing. Regarding this point he once said “the border is simply a metaphor that makes it easier for me to write about the things that separate people all over the world, even when they think there is no fence.”

Saturday, Apr. 5 & Sunday, Apr. 6, 2-5pm, KPC Kachemak Bay Campus: Don’t miss a workshop with Luis Alberto Urrea,  “The Theory and Practice of Trust.” Registration fee $85. Registration deadline, March 30. Call 235-7743 for more information or go to

Saturday, Apr. 5, 7pm, KPC Kachemak Bay Campus: Luis Alberto Urrea will give a public lecture on “The Writing Life.”

Sunday, Apr. 6, 5pm, KPC Kachemak Bay Campus: Luis Alberto Urrea will give a public reading and talk entitled “Universal Border.”

Call for Interested writers, actors and directors for One Minute Play Festival in Anchorage! Perseverance Theatre is partnering with Dominic D’Andrea, Producing Artistic Director of the One Minute Play Festival to produce the Alaska One Minute Play Festival April 14 & 15 in Anchorage, Alaska. If you are a writer, actor and/or director who would like to be involved in working on this community building project, please email ASAP to Bostin Christopher at Perseverance Theatre: Please note: you do not have to be a professed playwright to participate as a writer in this venture. Click here for more information.

Congratulations to 49 Writer member Lynn Lovegreen: the prequel to her recent novel Fools Gold is now available. Worth Her Weight in Gold is a novella set in 1886 Juneau. Click here for more information an to purchase the ebook.

Finally, we were saddened by news this week of the passing of Joe McGinness. In the early days of 49 Writers, he graciously volunteered to read at one of our first craft talks, a precursor of the popular series now held at Great Harvest Bread. The generous spirit and involvement of established authors like Joe form the foundation of our literary community. You can read the full obituary of this often controversial writer in the New York Times. A fearless author, he is remembered as “a gregarious man who was generous with other writers… Fond of telling stories, at his death he was working on a memoir.”

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