Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

Deb Vanasse and Melinda Moustakis

It was a rare treat to get to talk to both 49 Writers co-founders in the same day! On Monday, Deb Vanasse attended the reading by Melinda Moustakis at the UAA Campus Bookstore. Deb’s latest novel, Cold Spell (University of Alaska Press), makes an excellent summer reading choice. Melinda’s award-winning collection of linked short stories about an inimitable family of Kenai Peninsula homesteaders, Bear Down, Bear North, is now available in paperback. She was cheered on from the audience by a number of her own relatives, whose stories are the origin of many of her fictionalized tales (that stretched in the telling like a true fish story). The recipient of a current NEA fellowship, Melinda is getting ready to start her stint at Kenyon College as the 2014-2016 Kenyon Review Fellow in Fiction. But first, she looks forward to beginning her annual Alaskan fishing trip, far from her writer’s desk. Fans of her work will be happy to know she continues to write about the characters you first met in the pages of her debut book and we look forward to seeing their further adventures in print.

As to our other esteemed co-founder—Andromeda Romano-Lax is indeed back in Anchorage from Taiwan (via the Philippines) to teach in UAA’s MFA summer residency. It’s great to see her looking revitalized by her Asian travel experiences. After a year’s absence, Andromeda will be teaching two classes in our fall season. Details of these workshops and others will be announced before the end of August. 
The Northern Renaissance Arts & Science summer reading series, part of the UAA MFA program residency, continues this weekend (see details below). Still to come: Elizabeth Bradfield, Carolyn Turgeon, Sherry Simpson, Rich Chiapon, Nancy Lord, Jo-Ann Mapson, Craig Childs, David Stevenson, John P. O’Grady, Anne Caston, and Distinguished Guest Fiction Writers Padgett Powell.

The Brother Francis Shelter in Anchorage is looking for volunteers to teach writing workshops to their guests, as part of an initiative to bring artistic programs to the shelter. If you are interested in learning more, please contact VISTA Scott Wiser at

Events in Anchorage

Tonight, Friday, July 18, 5pm, Blue Hollomon Gallery, 3555 Arctic Boulevard: Reception for Homer author Tom Kizzia (Pilgrim’s Wilderness), followed by 6:30pm reading and Q&A session.

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 19, 8pm, UAA Arts Building, Room 150: Northern Renaissance Arts & Sciences Readings Series, in conjunction with UAA MFA Summer Residency, presents readings by Elizabeth Bradfield, Carolyn Turgeon, and Sherry Simpson.

Sunday, July 20, 8pm, UAA Arts Building, Room 150: Northern Renaissance Arts & Sciences Readings Series, in conjunction with UAA MFA Summer Residency, presents readings by Rich Chiappone, Nancy Lord, and Jo-Ann Mapson.

Monday, July 21, 8pm, UAA Arts Building, Room 150: Northern Renaissance Arts & Sciences Readings Series, in conjunction with UAA MFA Summer Residency, presents readings by Distinguised Guest Fiction Writer Padgett Powell and Craig Childs.

Tuesday, July 22, 8pm, UAA Arts Building, Room 150: Northern Renaissance Arts & Sciences Readings Series, in conjunction with UAA MFA Summer Residency, presents readings by David Stevenson, John P. O’Grady, and Anne Caston.

Saturday, July 26, 1-2pm, Palmer Public Library and via video-conference: Join Dan Bigley (Beyond the Bear) and readers at other libraries in the OWL Project to hear his story about triumphing over a devastating tragedy. Bring your questions and join in the conversation.

Around the State

July 20-26The Island Institute hosts the Sitka Symposium at Sheldon Jackson Campus in Sitka. This year’s theme, “Radical Imagining: Changing the Story With Stories of Change” will explore dominant narratives of our culture in relation to the challenges of our time, and consider empowering stories of transformative change initiated by people in communities large and small.

During the Symposium, individual faculty talks will be held at the Yaw Chapel on Sheldon Jackson Campus. These talks are open to anyone not able to attend the Symposium full time. $25 per talk, pay at the door.

Tuesday, July 22, 9am: Molly Sturges
Wednesday, July 23, 9amAlan Weisman
Thursday, July 24, 9am: Winona LaDuke
Friday, July 25, 9amLuis Urrea

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. Click here for more information.

August 22-24Center for Alaska Coastal Studies‘ Peterson Bay Field Station (across Kachemak Bay from Homer): Line by Line in Kachemak Bay: a writer and artist retreat led by Marilyn Sigman and Marilyn Kirkham. Registration $225, including water taxi transportation, food, two nights lodging, and a journal. For more information and to sign up, contact or 907-235-6667.

Opportunities for Alaskan Writers

Did you know that if you’re an Alaskan writer you can get listed for free in the Alaska Writers Directory? It’s easy to do, just click here to complete the online form. If you’re already listed, do check your information to make sure it’s current–updates can be submitted using the same form. As Alaska Book Week approaches (Oct. 4-11, 2014), it’s a great way for schools, book clubs, and other groups to connect with writers to invite to their Alaska Book Week celebration.

Need an author photo for your upcoming book? Affinityfilms, Inc., an Anchorage non-profit, will create your photo in exchange for a donation to the organization. Visit their website to contact them and make a donation online. Big thanks to Mary Katzke for this generous offer.

Rasmuson Foundation is now accepting its next round of applications from all previous Rasmuson Individual Artist Award Recipients for its Artist Residency Program. Online applications for 2015 residencies will be accepted now through August 15, 2014. Questions about the program can be directed to Program Coordinator Jeremy Pataky at jeremy.pataky (at) or 907-244-7717.

The Alaska Literary Awards, established in 2014 by the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation through a generous gift from Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli, are accepting applications. The Alaska Literary Awards recognize and support writers of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting, and mixed genres. Any Alaska writer over the age of 18 who is not a full-time student is eligible to apply. Quality of the work submitted is the primary consideration in determining who receives the awards. There are no restrictions on the writer’s use of the award and no formal report is required. Application deadline is Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 9:59pm (AKDT).

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