Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

Our latest literary season comes to a formal close on June 2 with the last spring class, in Juneau, taught by 49 Writers co-founder Deb Vanasse. If you’re in the area and interested in learning more about exploring point of view in your writing, don’t miss “Perspectives and Viewpoints.” Click here for more information and to register. Thanks to Deb for fitting this into her trip to the North Words Writers Symposium in Skagway (May 28-31) and for the excellent session she offered last weekend on Independent Publishing Options for Writers, which sold out and got rave reviews from participants. If you have kids, don’t miss Deb’s presentation at the Juneau Public Library’s Family Night on June 3. Contact the library for more details.

Christine Byl with Amy O’Neill Houck

It has been another great spring at 49 Writers. Once again, we’ve been fortunate to offer a variety of classes taught by excellent faculty, who continue to receive 97 percent satisfaction ratings. The big surprise has been the surge of interest and support in Juneau, where membership has grown from 8 in October to 42 in May. This is due in no small part to the enthusiastic engagement of our two Juneau board members, Joan Pardes and Katrina Pearson. We held six classes in Anchorage and six in Juneau too, with registrations overall totaling 134. Fifty-one percent of registrants attended the Juneau workshops. Thanks again to our amazing instructors: Christine Byl, Camille Dungy, Ali McCart (Juneau), Don Rearden (two classes in Juneau), Katey Schultz, Dana Stabenow, John Straley (Anchorage and Juneau), Deb Vanasse (Anchorage and Juneau), and Larry Weiss.

Our gratitude also goes to Christine Byl for teaching our first class in Talkeetna this spring, in partnership with the Denali Arts Council. And to UAF professor emeritus Frank Soos, for holding individual consultations in February with students from the two classes he taught on Art of the Essay in fall, to provide feedback on their work in progress. Our faculty are so generous with their talent and their time, which goes a long way to furthering the 49 Writers mission of supporting the artistic development of writers throughout Alaska, fostering a writing community, and building an audience for literature.

Talking of North Words, there’s still time to register! Check out the schedule here. This year’s theme is “Exploring the Frontiers of Language” and the conference keynote is none other than celebrated British-American writer Simon Winchester. Why not “let Skagway inspire you,” as the organizers urge? It’s a beautiful time of year to visit, before the tourists take over town. If you do attend, be sure to say hello to Deb and to 49 Writers board members Joan and Katrina.

We’re pleased to announce the addition of another Juneau board member, Amy O’Neill Houck, who brings a variety of nonprofit and business experience to the table. Amy also took the initiative to teach two classes for us in Juneau in 2012 and 2013, stirring interest in the capital in community creative writing workshops. As we move forward, programming in Juneau and Southeast is poised to expand even further. None of this would be possible without the commitment of our energetic members and supportive partners – Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Coppa coffee shop, University of Alaska Southeast, and Juneau Public Libraries.

Planning for fall 2014 in Anchorage and Juneau is now underway. If you want us to bring creative writing workshops to your community too, let us know! If you are interested in teaching for 49 Writers and meet the instructor criteria, we’d love to see a course proposal from you – deadline is June 15.

Events in Anchorage

Tuesday, May 27, 4-6pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: 49 Writers member Donna Mack presents a discussion of her recently published novel Whispered Secrets Whispered Prayers. The story is based in North Dakota in 1947 and is about a German family who immigrated from the Ukraine. Mack is a NEA award winner with a MFA in creative writing from UAA. For many in Alaska, she is known as the owner of One People, an iconic Anchorage shop that featured arts and crafts from around the globe.

Friday June 6, 4-6pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Attorney Lee Goodman presents his just released crime thriller Indefensible, the perfect book for summer reading! “Complex and intelligent, fantastically well-plotted. Indefensible is as good as it gets.” John Lescroart (New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four novels). Lee Goodman’s work has appeared in the Iowa Review, where it received a nomination for the Pushcart Prize in fiction, and Orion Magazine, among other publications. During the summers, Goodman works as a commercial fisherman in Prince William Sound, where he operates his own salmon fishing boat.

There are several opportunities coming up in Anchorage to meet Mike Holloway, author of the newly released Dreaming Bears: A Gwich’in Indian Storyteller, a Southern Doctor, a Wild Corner of Alaska. To see a book trailer and more information visit:

  • Sunday, June 6, 1-2:30pm, DeBarr Costco 
  • Wednesday, Jun. 11, 4-6pm, UAA Campus Bookstore

Around the State

Saturday, May 24, 11:30am, Fireside Books, Palmer: Book signing by Glen Klinkhart, author of Finding Bethany: a Memoir. Glen Klinkhart started his path towards investigating homicides when his sister was brutally murdered. Bethany Correira’s murder was just the kind of case that brought Klinkhart into the police force and he was determined to solve the case and bring her justice.
Juneau author Annie Boochever (Bristol Bay Summer) will be making this following appearances:

  • Saturday, May 24: Hearthside Books’ Author Whale Watching 
  • Friday, June 6, 5-7pm, book signing at Hearthside Books Downtown
  • June 16, 6:30pm, Annie will present at the Valley Library.

Mike Holloway, author of Dreaming Bears: A Gwich’in Indian Storyteller, a Southern Doctor, a Wild Corner of Alaska, has appearance coming up in Fairbanks too:

  • Thursday, May 29, 4-6pm, to benefit the Gwich’in Steering Committee at the Alaska Geographic Bookstore in the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor’s Bureau, 101 Dunkel Street, Fairbanks
  • Friday, May 30, 12-1:30pm, Barnes and Noble, 421 Merhar Avenue, Fairbanks
  • Friday, May 30, 5:30-6:30 pm, to benefit the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, 830 College Road, Fairbanks
Upcoming deadlines
June 30: 49 Writers is accepting submissions for Anchorage Remembers, an Anchorage Centennial anthology to be published later this year. We are looking for personal stories written by Municipality of Anchorage residents, 50 years and older, who have memories of Anchorage and Chugiak-Eagle River over the years to share with the community.  This project is supported by a Centennial Community grant awarded by the Alaska Humanities Forum and Anchorage Centennial Committee. Click here for more information and to submit.

June 30: Early registration deadline for the 2014 Alaska Writers Guild Conference (Sept. 13 & 14, Crowne Plaza Hotel) featuring  nationally acclaimed agents, publishers, and authors. Once again, the conference includes a children’s literature track in conjunction with the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. The conference brings writing industry professionals straight to you, ready to share their knowledge of how to write well, get published, and market your books. Click here for a full list of speakers. Visit the AWG website for more information and to register. Early registration (deadline June 30) is $90 for AWG/SCBWI members, $120 for non-members.

Literary happenings in Alaska this summer

May 28-31: This year’s North Words Writers Symposium in beautiful Skagway, Southeast Alaska, features popular British-American writer Simon Winchester as keynote author, joined by an Alaska-Yukon faculty that includes Nora Marks Dauenhauer, Richard Dauenhauer, Nick Jans, Marcel Jolley, Heather Lende, Lael Morgan, John Straley, and Deb Vanasse. For full information, visit the conference website.

June 6-8, Tonglen Lake Lodge, Denali: Writing workshop with Sherry Simpson, Tiny Masters: Turning Personal Experience Into Personal Essays. Click here for details.

June 8-14: Prince William Sound Community College hosts the 2014 Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez. The invited 68 plays include writers from across the United States and internationally from the United Kingdom. There are 8 Alaskans invited to present their work, including 3 from Anchorage, 2 from Juneau, and 1 apiece from Fairbanks, Ketchikan, and Valdez. Alaskan playwrights include Jill Bess (Anchorage, AK), Simple Melody, Linda Billington (Anchorage, AK), A Duct Tale, Clint Jefferson Farr (Juneau, AK), The Kindness of Strangers, P. Shane Mitchell (Anchorage AK), Veritas, Tom Moran (Fairbanks AK), God On Our Side, Mollie Ramos (Valdez, AK), Snowmageddon, Barbara Shepherd (Juneau, AK), Ghost Stories, Norma Thompson (Ketchikan, AK), Missing Something?, and alternate Mark Muro (Anchorage, AK), Nocturne on 166th Street.

June 13-17Kachemak Bay Writers Conference takes place in Homer, with keynote speaker Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones). This year’s post-conference workshop at Tutka Bay Lodge, Personal Stories and Great Realities, will be led by Scott Russell Sanders, June 17-19.

June 26-29: Stillpoint Lodge in Halibut Cove hosts a writers retreat, The Pen & The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World, with Holly Hughes. How do we create space for writing in a world crowded with so many distractions? Learn mindfulness practices to provide support for writing and other forms of creativity. Holly co-authored the book 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.

Just added! 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. Award-winning author Ehrlich has published numerous books and essays, been an NPR correspondent, and has traveled widely in Greenland and the Arctic. Practice and insight into the transition between field notes and the finished essay or prose poem. Course fee includes food, lodging in bunkhouse, and transportation to course site by boat from Eagle, AK. Noncredit cost $430. More information here.

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 LaDuke, Anishinaabekwe author, activist, mother, and Green Party vice-presidential running mate to Ralph Nader; Luis Alberto Urrea, critically acclaimed author of thirteen books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, American Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist; Alan Weisman, best-selling author of The World Without Us and winner of the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Award for his latest book, Countdown; and Molly Sturges, co-founder and Artistic Director of Santa Fe’s renowned Littleglobe, an artist/activist collective, and founder of the national project COAL, a musical fable and catalyst for climate engagement.

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. How can writers craft a meaningful, readable page-turner while working in the confines of the frequently controversial truth of “what actually happened.” Click here for more information.

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