Linda: 49 Writers weekly roundup

Lael Morgan and Deb Vanasse share publishing advice

What a wonderful turnout at last night’s Resolve to Write event in Anchorage, despite the dodgy weather. It was a pleasure to meet so many new members–membership has been growing in leaps and bounds with 14 new members since the first of the year (more than half in Southeast Alaska). Publishing veterans Lael Morgan and Deb Vanasse shared their wisdom  and what they recommend writers do to transform their work into “tree books or e-books” in 2014. 

Everyone took a turn sharing their writing resolution for the new year, proving just what a diverse group we are. Some of us are struggling to find a form for our story, others are determined to get a years-long project into print. Our number included poet professors, a criminologist and others with haunting tales to tell from their professional lives, a nature writer, memoirists, a young adult historical romance novelist, and more. What binds us together is not only the desire to craft a compelling story and capture that moment of human experience but also the need to find friendship, advice, and encouragement from a community of writers. Writing is a solitary business and every so often we must seek the support of our peers. When we come together like this we find validation for our individual struggles, joy in the hard road we travel, and inspiration from our fellow members. Thank you so much to our special guests, Lael Morgan and Deb Vanasse, to our incomparable hostess Martha Amore, and to Mimi Beck who became a member only yesterday and made it to her first 49 Writers event.

Last week we reported on the Anchorage Remembers project, a 49 Writers Anchorage Centennial celebration newly funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum. This week, that project really took off! Kudos to our Anchorage Remembers team for working hard to prepare for its launch: coordinator Cheryl Lovegreen and instructors Sue Pope, Louise Freeman, Judith Conte, and Becky Saleeby. On Tuesday, the first in a series of four workshops kicked off at the Anchorage Senior Center, and Channel 2 News was there to capture the story. 

Yesterday, Linda Ketchum met with the Anchorage Women’s Club at the Pioneer School House, where they are graciously hosting the free weekend workshop series that starts Saturday, Jan. 25 1-3pm. You can find all the details and the link to the registration form on the home page of the 49 Writers website. Participants have many diverse stories to tell about their experience of living in Anchorage over the years, and we look forward to reading their submissions to the Anchorage Remembers anthology. The submission period will be April 1 through June 30, 2014. Still to come in February: a workshop series at the Chugiak Senior Center and a second weekend workshops series in Anchorage. As soon as dates are firm, we’ll post that information on the 49 Writers website.

February dates for your 49 Writers calendar:
  • Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7pm, Anchorage Museum: Crosscurrents with poets Camille Dungy and Sean Hill, “Writing the Whole Environment”
  • Wednesday, Feb. 5, 6-9pm, Anchorage Museum: workshop with Camille Dungy, “How to Write a Poem: Make a List”
  • Thursday, Feb. 6, 1-4pm, 645 W. 3rd Avenue: workshop with John Straley, “Lessons from a Life of Crime”
  • Thursday, Feb 6, 7pm, Great Harvest Bread Co: Reading & Craft Talk by John Straley, “Lessons from a Life of Crime”
  • Saturday, Feb. 8, 10am-12pm, 645 W. 3rd Avenue: class with Lynn Lovegreen, “Journey of a Novel”
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6-8:30pm, Sheldon Community Arts Hangar, Talkeetna: workshop with Christine Byl, “The Good, The Bad, and the Buggy”
  • Saturday, Feb. 15, 9am-1pm, 645 W. 3rd Avenue: workshop with Christine Byl, “Lyric Tinkering: The Poem as a Tool for Prose Writers”

In partnership with the Alaska Writers Guild, we’re please to offer the following workshops with Ali McCart to our own members at the AWG member rate. Both workshops are limited to only twelve attendees, so register early$45 Alaska Writers Guild and 49 Writers Members/$60 Non-Members

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 6-9pm, Alaska Pacific University: Fantastic First Impressions for Fiction Writers. Whether you’re sending out query letters or pitching 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 the genre, and of course, how you relay all of this in the limited space of a query letter or pitch. Click here for more information and to register.

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 6-9pm, Alaska Pacific University: 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 to a reality TV show — a daunting task. In this 3-hour roundtable intensive, editor Ali McCart will address all your questions and more. You’ll learn how to evaluate a proposal from a publisher’s perspective as well as how to write the various aspects of your own proposal, as we workshop your own work and others’. Click here for more information and to register.

TOMORROW, 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.

TOMORROW, Saturday, Jan. 18 is the deadline for the Alaska Statewide Youth Art & Writing Competition! Make sure your students or kids have their entries in on time! Art entries include painting, photography, design, comics, jewelry and sculpture. Writing entries include poetry, fiction, journalism, science fiction and flash. ASYAWC is hosted by F Magazine, a wholly volunteer owned and operated arts publication. We thank you for giving Alaska’s youth a chance to participate in this competition by passing on information about this competition. Click HERE for rules, regulations and registration. Click HERE TO DONATE TO ASYAWC: this competition cannot happen without your help. Thank you!

The F’Air Words (writing for all ages and genres) and Art of Fashion Photography are also currently underway. To learn more go to

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.

Nature and Travel Writing Class: Anchorage essayist and author Bill Sherwonit will teach a 12-week nature and travel writing class on Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 22, 7-9:30pm, 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 or for more information, contact Sherwonit at 245-0283 or Further information about the teacher is also available at

Thursday, Jan. 30, 5-7:30pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Resonating Wisdoms: Early Confucianism Dialogue with Yup’ik and Inupiaq Cultures. At this event, Kristin Helweg Hanson, Phyllis Fast and UAA presenters Josephine Hishon and Brittany Burns examine and contrast Chinese and Alaska Native classical and traditional world views. The Chinese culture and the Yup’ik and Inupiaq cultures have existed for more than 4,000 years. Given their markedly different environments and contrasting status on the world stage, what dialogue would classical Confucian philosophy have with equally ancient Inupiaq and Yup’ik constructs? What insights emerge when Confucian and Inupiaq/Yup’ik cultures are juxtaposed? These intriguing questions will be the topics for this fascinating event which contrasts classical and traditional world views. This event sponsored with UAA Ethics Center and UAA Philosophy Department.

Monday, Feb. 10, 5-7:00pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: The past comes to life with music, food and frolic! The story of Fools Gold is presented by author Lynn Lovegreen featuring live music with High Lonesome Sound. “Alaska’s gold rush is no place for a lady, but that doesn’t scare Ellie Webster. Ellie travels with her younger brother to the wilds of the Klondike gold rush to save the family farm. She’s prepared for hardship on the trail, but not for the sparkling blue eyes of Duke Masterson, a charming saloonkeeper. And Duke is surprised to find that Ellie and her apple pies are more valuable to him than all the gold nuggets in Skagway, Alaska. Now if he could only overcome Ellie’s fear of losing her newly-found independence and win her heart. Together they must defeat the conman corrupting the town and make their fortunes before the last steamship of the season heads south.”.

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