Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

Moderator and panelists for Home/Land: Peggy Shumaker, Scott Russell Sanders,
Debby Dahl Edwardson, Eowyn Ivey, Richard Chiappone
Yes, Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference is over. For four intense pre-solstice days, 150 writers soaked up the wisdom of faculty, made new writing friends and caught up with old, enjoyed a variety of readings from aspiring and established writers, generated the beginnings of some new pieces, and ran the gamut of Homer weather from bird-egg blue skies to lashing rain and buffeting wind.
Some thoughts from writers in attendance: 
  • Alice has been a good surprise – her dry wit, watching her personality unfold
    as she becomes more comfortable. My takeway? The exercise of listening is important.
  • Once again the faculty is excellent, once again it’s too much – I need
    unscheduled time to write. When I’m inspired like this, it makes me crave writing.
  • I’ve attended the Pacific Northwest Conference several times but this is my first time at KBWC. I’m impressed by the consistent quality and preparation of the presenters. Alice Sebold is
    amazing. Kwame Dawes has made the biggest impression, especially his generosity
    of spirit. Last night the hard drive was full!
  • Alice is fascinating: in her writing she’s captured successfully the violence and chaos that’s part of life and it validates what I’m trying to write myself.

Look for another ‘Conference Notes’ post on June 30 that talks about finding inspiration, writing object poems, and reading like a writer. Meanwhile, we can’t wait to share two big announcements made at the conference. First, next year’s keynote speaker will be novelist, short story writer, and memoirist Andre Dubus III. On top of his many literary accomplishments, he has also won awards for narrating his audio-books! You can be assured that the faculty will be top-notch too.

A most exciting development, announced by Erin Hollowell on behalf of Charlotte Fox of the Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation, is the establishment of the annual Alaska Literary Awards—made possible by the largesse of Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli. These awards will be open to all genres, including screenwriting, and the main criterion for selection will be ‘good writing.’ Three fellowships in the amount of $5,000 will be awarded each fall, and the application process for 2014 will be announced on July 1. It seems there are no bounds to the vision and generosity of Peggy and Joe, who have already done so much to support and promote Alaska’s writers. Do express your appreciation to them should the opportunity arise. More and more, I’m convinced that the literary community in this state is unparalleled, given the investment in writers made by philanthropists, foundations, and organizations such as the Alaska State Council on the Arts and Alaska Humanities Forum, as well as our support and encouragement of each other.
* * *
A big thank you to everyone who submitted a course proposal for our fall season. It’s shaping up to be rich program of classes, with something for everyone. Details will be announced before the end of August, and registration will open September 1.
Remember that the deadline to submit a short memoir piece to the 49 Writers Anchorage Remembers centennial anthology is June 30click here for more information and to submit.

You can now help 49 Writers earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!

Fred Meyer is donating $2.5 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, based on where their customers tell them to give. Here’s how the program works:

  • Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to 49 Writers, Inc. at You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number (93933).
  • Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you help us earn a donation!
  • You still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today.
  • If you don’t have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Customer Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.

In a message to friends of the University of Alaska Press, director Joan Braddock thanks everyone who took the time to voice their support for the Press to UAF. While decisions about budget cuts have yet to be announced, she reports that the comments supporters sent in were heard, which will help when the final decisions are made. Your comments have also helped everyone at the Press through a difficult time. When we know more, we’ll provide an update.

Events in Anchorage

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 21, 6pm, Hugi-Lewis Studio hosts the Anchorage launch of Cirque #10! Contributors will be reading, including Nancy Sydnam, JT Torres, Steven Levi, Brenda Jasper, and Sandra Wassilie. Jerry McDonnell will MC the event and Patrick Minock will play the Yup’ik drum and sing traditional songs. Donations will be requested at the door to support this fine publication. If you’re in Alaska, they’d love to see you. On August 15th, in Bothell, WA, Cirque will hold another reading. More about that later. Cirque is supported by donations, sales and subscriptions. The new issue will be up on the Solstice evening at

June 24, 10am: VP&D House encourages you to tune in to KSKA next Tuesday for Talk of Alaska with Steve Heimel and other guests. They’ll be talking about Alaska books! Join them for an hour of really terrific literary news and fun.

Monday, July 14, 4-6pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Award-winning author Melinda Moustakis will read from her story collection and discuss her writing. Born in Fairbanks, Melinda captures the sense of Alaska in her acclaimed book Bear Down Bear North: Alaska Stories, which won the Flannery O’ Connor Award and the Maurice Prize.

Around the State

Tonight, June 20, 6pm, Silverbow Inn, Juneau: Woosh Kinaadeiyí will host an open mic and poetry slam. The event will be hosted by Heather LaVerne and Lauren Tibbitts-Travis with DJ Manu. The event is open to poets and performers of all ages and abilities. Sign up to perform opens at 6pm show starts at 6:30pm. Event is pay-as-you-can. 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. Contact: Christy NaMee Eriksen, Woosh Kinaadeiyí President, Learn more at

Tomorrow, June 21, 11:30am, Fireside Books, Palmer: Valerie Boever will be signing copies of her wonderfully Alaskan kid’s books, the Margaret and Midnight series. So drop by for signed books and chat with the author!

June 23, 3pm, Fireside Books, Palmer: Meet Valerie Winans, author of Alaska’s Savage River: Inside Denali National Park and Preserve.

July 6, 7pm, Denali Education Center in McKinley Village, AK. Charles Sheldon Center: “Over the Hills: The Wilderness Act Turns 50” – Join Seth Kantner, Marybeth Holleman, Sean Hill, Erica Watson, and Christine Byl in celebrating the birthday of the Wilderness Act. Free and open to all.

Some Alaskan writer successes

Alaska’s writers really shone in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Annual Contest. Here’s a list of the finalists – and congratulations to each of you!

  • Cynthia Monroe: Middle Grade Fiction, The Flute and the Firebow
  • Bobbi Porter: Middle Grade Fiction, The Hole
  • Brooke Hartman: Science Fiction Short Story, Jeri
  • Stefanie Tatalias: Picture Book, Whatever You Do, Don’t Think About a Dragon

They also put on a strong showing in the the annual Sandy Writing Contest at the Crested Butte Writers Conference:

  • Brooke Hartman: First Place for Middle Grade/Young Adult, Axis
  • Cynthia Monroe: Second Place for Middle Grade/Young Adult, The Flute and the Firebow
Literary happenings in Alaska this summer

June 26-29Stillpoint Lodge in Halibut Cove hosts a writers retreat, The Pen & The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World, with Holly Hughes, co-author of The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World. Her collection of poems. Sailing by Ravens, is part of the University of Alaska Press’s 2014 Alaska Literary Series.

July 6-10: Wilderness Writing at Coal Creek, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, with Gretel Ehrlich, brought to you by the UAF Summer Sessions & Lifelong Learning. Course fee includes food, lodging in bunkhouse, and transportation to course site by boat from Eagle, AK. Noncredit cost $430. More information here.

July 13-27: Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Creative Writing Class. Two weeks of writing with master teachers and a lively group of participants. Experience welcome but not necessary. Click here for more information.

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. Leading the Symposium will be Winona LaDukeLuis Alberto Urrea, Alan Weisman, and Molly Sturges.

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 22-24, Center 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. Join them for tidepooling and forest walks guided by CACS naturalists, followed by guided exercises to help you transform natural history and scientific information into creative nonfiction and visual art that combines lines of text and line sketches. 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.

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