Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

Don’t miss the very last 49 Writers event of 2013: a New Year’s Eve poetry reading by Joan Naviyuk Kane on Tuesday Dec. 31, 8pm, 120 West 11th Avenue, to mark the release of Hyperboreal, her second award-winning book. Joan will read selections from this new collection after we enjoy music from Alaskan songwriter Michael Howard. Doors open at 7pm. Thank you to 49 Writers board member Jeremy Pataky for organizing and to Olena Kalytiak Davis for hosting–we can’t think of a better way to see out the old year and welcome the new!

Although the holidays are still in full swing, it’s never too early to turn your thoughts to your writing life in 2014: why not resolve to take one or even more of the Anchorage classes on our spring schedule? Full details will be up on the 49 Writers website by the end of December, and registration will open on Wednesday, Jan. 1. Plans are also underway for classes in other communities and we’ll announce any additions to the program when details are confirmed.

Once again, we have put together as interesting and varied a selection as possible, and we’re pleased to welcome back some favorite instructors, while adding new names to our faculty. Here’s a quick overview (drum roll, please) of what’s in store for you:

  • Feb. 5, 6-9pm, How to Write a Poem: Make a List, with visiting poet Camille Dungy. This class will also be offered in Barrow on Feb. 8.
  • Feb, 15, 9am-1pm, Lyric Tinkering: The Poem as a Tool for Prose Writers, with Healy author Christine Byl.
  • Mar. 8, 9am-4pm, Flash Fiction in a Flash, with visiting author Katey Schultz, who taught a popular class for us two years ago.
  • Mar. 14-16, 6-9pm, 10am-4pm, and 11am-4pm, Submitting the Novel: The First 20 Pages, with Sitka author Brendan Jones.
  • Apr. 8, 9am-12pm, Digital Tools for the Creative Writer, with Larry Weiss.
  • May 14, 6:30-8:30pm & May 17, 9:30am-12pm and 1-3:30pm, The Pressure is Off: Independent Publishing Options for Writers, with Dana Stabenow and Deb Vanasse.

Continuing last week’s year-end review: registration for creative writing classes saw a big jump in 2013. Altogether there were 212 registrations for the 20 classes we offered in Anchorage, Barrow, Kodiak, Juneau, and Palmer. A total of 131 writers participated, of whom three-quarters were members of 49 Writers. Ninety-six percent rated the classes as excellent, and our instructors scored 97 percent on the appreciation scale. Get 2014 off to a great start by making a commitment to develop your craft!

We can’t let the old year slip away without acknowledging the organizations and businesses that provided invaluable support to 49 Writers in 2013 in the form of donations, fundraisers, and sponsorships that ensure the continuation of our program of author events, the annual Write-a-thon, and Alaska Book Week. Kudos to the very fine folks at the Alaska Center for the Book, Anchorage Library Foundation and Loussac Library, Anchorage Museum at Ramuson Center, Barnes & Noble Anchorage, Copper Whale Inn, Epicenter Press, Fireside Books, Great Harvest Bread Company, Moose’s Tooth/Bear Tooth, Raven’s Brew Coffee, Snow City Cafe, Spenard Roadhouse, Tallyfunder, Title Wave Books, Todd Communications, University of Alaska Press, and VP&D House. Within the Wild deserves a special mention for making the fabulous Tutka Bay Lodge available and affordable for our annual writers retreat, in addition to catering two receptions for members and volunteers. Thank you too to Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli for their generous and unwavering support of 49 Writers and the literary arts.

We received good news in the last week about two grant awards that will help fund program activities in the coming months: thank you to the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) and Alaska Humanities Forum (AKHF) for continuing to invest in the mission of 49 Writers! 

ASCA awarded a workshop grant in the amount of $1,000 that will allow us to offer the two classes by Camille Dungy when she’s in Alaska in February: one in Anchorage and one in Barrow (in partnership with Tuzzy Consortium Library). The AKHF award of $7,500 will fund our official Anchorage Centennial project, Anchorage Remembers: a series of memoir writing workshops for seniors that will lead to publication of a print anthology and a public reading during the Centennial celebrations in 2015.

We have a great team of volunteers already working on Anchorage Remembers, who are coordinating the program and planning community workshops to take place in January and February 2014. Thank you to Cheryl Lovegreen, Sue Pope, Louise Freeman, Judith Conte, and Becky Saleeby for volunteering their time to this initiative since September. We would also like to acknowledge Vered Mares and Lizzie Newell, who have committed to helping us with this exciting project with future photography and publishing services.

Each workshop series will be free to residents of the Municipality of Anchorage aged 50 years and above who already have a story in mind or who would like to develop a story about their experience of living in Anchorage, and who intend to submit their piece for publication in the Anchorage Remembers anthology. A series of four classes is already scheduled at the Anchorage Senior Center for their regular writing group, and additional workshop series are planned at the Pioneer School House on 3rd Avenue and the UAA Campus in Eagle River. Look for registration details after the New Year. If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor to help some of these memoir students polish their work for publication, do contact us.

As for author events, you can look forward to an exciting Crosscurrents schedule: a huge thank you to Daryl Farmer and the UAF English Department for bringing Camille Dungy and Luis Alberto Urrea to Alaska for their Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series, which makes it possible for us to feature these great writers in Anchorage too.

  • Feb. 4, 7pm, Anchorage Museum, “Writing the Whole Environment” with poets Camille Dungy and Sean Hill.
  • Mar. 12, 7pm, Anchorage Museum, “Essaying Alaska: Beyond Images of the Last Frontier” with Sherry Simpson and Christine Byl.
  • Apr. 7, 7pm, Wilda Marston Theatre, Luis Alberto Urrea and Bryan Fierro.

Our Reading & Craft Talk Series continues on Thursdays at Great Harvest Bread Co. with the following authors:

  • Feb. 6, 7pm, “Lessons from a Life of Crime” with John Straley (Cold Storeage, Alaska)
  • Mar. 6 7pm, “Revision, Inspiration, and Alaska as Muse” with Katey Schultz (Flashes of War) and Brendan Jones (The Alaskan Laundry, coming in 2015).
  • Apr. 24, 7pm,  “The World of Self-Publishing and Why” with Elise Patkotak (Coming into the City)
Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 22, 7-9:30pm, at the downtown Anchorage Sierra Club office, essayist and author Bill Sherwonit will teach a 12-week nature and travel writing class, registration fee $240. Participants in this workshop-style class will explore and refine their own writing styles, with an emphasis on the personal essay form, as well as reading and discussing works by some of America’s finest nature and travel writers. Contact Sherwonit at 245-0283 or to sign up or for more information.

If you haven’t already secured your copy of the gorgeous Winter Solstice issue of Cirque, you can read it full-text online and support the journal by purchasing copies at the same link. Look for poems by Tony Mares written for each member of the firing squad that shot Federico Garcia Lorca. Find, too, an interview with Eva Saulitis, discussing her new book Into Great Silence, and a review of Vivian Prescott’s poetry collection, The Hide of My Tongue.

In deepest winter, we thought our readers might enjoy the latest post on the Art and Nature blog by Marybeth Holleman about a light-inspired collaboration: To Find Stars in Another Language: poetry and the video art of ice.
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