Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

As summer draws to a close, our thoughts turn to winter writing projects that will sustain us through the long, dark days. The new schedule of creative writing classes at 49 Writers is designed to both inspire and encourage you, while you hone your writerly skills and re-connect to your literary community.

The Anchorage season kicks off October 1 and runs through November: click here for information about our fall faculty. We are also offering a special Southeast Alaska program in September–see below for details if you live in the vicinity of Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan or Craig. For information on Juneau activities during the season, check our website here.

We have planned three Reading & Craft Talks at Great Harvest Bread Co. in Anchorage, highlighting new work from David Stevenson (Sept. 11), Susanna Mishler (Oct. 16), and Lee Goodwin (Nov. 6). Our fall Crosscurrents event will take place at the Anchorage Museum during Alaska Book Week, (Oct. 6) and address the topic, “Would the Real Alaska Please Stand Up?” Departing from our usual format, this evening features a panel of distinguished Alaskan authors that includes Joan Naviyuk Kane, Seth Kantner, Peggy Shumaker, and Deb Vanasse, as well as illustrator Beth Rearden Hill. Please join us in congratulating Joan Kane, who we hear has just won the American Book Award for Hyperboreal, her second collection of poetry that already won AWP’s Donald Hall Prize for Poetry.

Seth Kantner

This fall’s selection of half-day classes includes Children’s Books: Writing, Illustrating, Publishing (Oct. 4) with Deb Vanasse, Seth Kantner, and Beth Hill; Our Stories and Their Songs (Oct. 11) with Jonathan Bower; Complex & Conflicted Characters: What’s in Your Character’s Pocket? (Nov. 1) with Don Rearden (well-received in Juneau this spring); and Composition by Juxtaposition (Nov. 22) with Caroline Goodwin, formerly of Sitka and current Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, CA. Caroline will also teach this class in Juneau (Monday, Dec. 1).

If you are looking for a longer learning commitment, Douglass Bourne will be teaching Claiming Your Place, a five-week series for writers in all genres that begins October 2. Fresh from her success as an instructor for our Anchorage Remembers memoir project (many students have told me how much they enjoyed Judith’s workshops and how much they learned from her), Judith Conte will be offering a six-session series called Memoir Matters.

Frank Soos, who last fall taught the popular Art of the Essay class twice, is back with an Essay Workshop for those students who have completed a piece started in or since that class a year ago. Participants will critique each others work in the first session (Nov. 8-9) and discuss revisions a month later (Dec. 6-7).

Caroline Goodwin will teach
in Anchorage and Juneau

We are especially excited to announce our first online class this season, taught by 49 Writers co-founder Andromeda Romano-Lax. Andromeda spent most of her time in Asia  this past year but she’s back in Alaska and ready to roll with two new creative writing offerings! Achieve lift-off with a jump-started or re-started novel in Your Novel Now: The First Six Weeks, a class that will emphasize quick-drafting, supplemented with discussion of craft and process. So long as you have Internet access, you can participate! Plan to dedicate at least one hour a day to drafting new work with the goal of writing the first 10,000 words or more of a rough draft and learning more about your own best writing processes.

Finally, if you’re one of the writers who has requested help in writing sex scenes that avoid cheesy metaphors and purple prose, your wait is over: Andromeda has stepped up to teach Writing the Intimate and Explicit on Wednesdays, October 4-22.

Visit our website for more details and to register now!

David Stevenson

September events at 49 Writers

Click here for full details of the Crosscurrents Southeast program featuring Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes, funded in part by the Alaska Humanities Forum and National Endowment for the Arts. All activities are free but pre-registration is required for the workshops.

  • Friday, Sept. 5-Sunday, Sept. 7: Tutka Bay Writers Retreat with Carolyn Forché
  • Thursday, Sept. 11, 7pm, Great Harvest Bread Company: Reading & Craft Talk by David Stevenson–“Letters from Chamonix: Teasing Fiction from Fact.”
  • Friday, Sept. 19, 7pm, UAS, Egan Lecture Hall, Juneau: Crosscurrents with Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes, “Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn: Cultural Appropriation in Alaskan Writing” (Evening at Egan)
  • Saturday, Sept. 20, 1-4pm, UAS Glacier View Room, Juneau: Workshop with Sherry Simpson
    “Autogeography: Mapping Our Lives” 
  • Sunday, Sept. 21, 3pm, Douglas Public Library: Reading by Sherry Simpson, “The Unseen Bear”
  • Monday, Sept. 22, 7pm, Naa Kahidi Community House, Sitka: Crosscurrents with Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes, “Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn: Cultural Appropriation in Alaskan Writing”
  • Tuesday, Sept. 23, 6-9pm, Yaw Chapel, Sheldon Jackson Campus, Sitka: Creative Writing Workshop with Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes, “The Story and the Music: Fresh Approaches to Familiar Places”
  • Wednesday, Sept. 24, 7pm, Ketchikan Public Library: Crosscurrents with Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes, “Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn: Cultural Appropriation in Alaskan Writing”
  • Thursday, Sept. 25, 6-9pm, Ketchikan Public Library: Creative Writing Workshop with Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes, “The Story and the Music: Fresh Approaches to Familiar Places”
  • Friday, Sept. 26, 7pm, Craig Public Library: Crosscurrents with Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes, “Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn: Cultural Appropriation in Alaskan Writing”
  • Saturday, Sept. 27, 9am-12pm, Craig Public Library: Creative Writing Workshop with Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes, “The Story and the Music: Fresh Approaches to Familiar Places”

Events in Anchorage

Tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 30, 1-4pm, Barnes & Noble: Author AdriAnne Strickland will be signing her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, Wordless. Stop by to meet her and learn more about her work.

Thursday, Sept. 4, 7pm, Z.J. Loussac Library, Public Conference Room: The Alaska Gold Rush, for Teens and the Young at Heart. Young adult author Lynn Lovegreen will talk about the history of the Alaska Gold Rush and the inspirations for her novel about gold mining and the claim jumping controversy in Nome in 1900. Each person who donates food or money to the Food Bank of Alaska at this event will receive a free bag of book swag!

Monday, Sept. 8, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Andy Hall presents Denali Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak, an account of the 1967 Wilcox Expedition, one of the greatest climbing accidents ever to occur on the highest peak of North America. Twelve climbers attempt the ascent and only five return. Andy Hall, the son of the Denali Park Superintendent at the time, offers an intimate look into the young men on a big adventure.
September 11, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: All You Need is Love – Forging an Emotional Connection through the Stories we Write and Read. Romance authors Jennifer Bernard, Tam Linsey, Lynn Lovegreen, Miriam Matthews, and DeNise Woodbury come together to read from their books and discuss romance. This event is sponsored with Romance Writers of Alaska.

Sept. 13 & 14, the 2014 Alaska Writers Guild Annual Conference, in conjunction with
SCBWI Alaska, takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Anchorage. This year’s conference will feature nationally acclaimed editors, agents, and authors, as well as local authors and illustrators. Once again they are offering a children’s literarure and illustration track in conjunction with The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Click here for a detailed list of this year’s faculty. Visit the AWG website for more information and to register. Click here for a preliminary conference schedule.

Beginning Sept. 17, Anchorage essayist and author Bill Sherwonit will teach a 12-week nature and travel writing class beginning Sept. 17, 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 for this Wednesday night class (7 to 9:30 p.m.), or for more information, contact Sherwonit at 245-0283 or Further information about the teacher is also available at

Events around Alaska 

Today, Friday, Aug. 29, 11am, catch Nick Jans (A Wolf Called Romeo) at Palmer’s Fireside Books.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 30, 11am-1pm. Tom Sexton, Alaska’s poet laureate from 1994 to 2000, the author of several collections of poetry, and the selected poet of this park’s poem-in-place, will give a talk and host a discussion on The Poetry of Place. The talk/discussion is free and open to anyone age 18 or older. Space is limited. Please register in advance. To register or for more information about either event, please email

Tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2-3 pm: Poems in Place Dedication.  Help celebrate the unveiling of the 2014 Poem in Place at Independence Mine State Historical Park. Reading by selected poet Tom Sexton will be followed by refreshments and celebration. All are welcome!

Thursday, Sept. 4, 6:30pm, Kachemak Bay Campus: Prior to leading the annual 49 Writers Tutka Bay Retreat, acclaimed poet Carolyn Forché will give a public reading in Homer.

Saturday, Sept. 6, 10am-12:30pm, School House Inn, Lake Aleknagik: Yupik Place Names and the Poetry of Place. Tim Troll and Molly Chythlook will share their knowledge of Yupik place names, the first naming of place. Join in a creative writing exercise with poet Wendy Erd. The workshop is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

Saturday, Sept. 6, 2-3pm, Lake Aleknagik Landing:  Poems in Place Dedication and Celebration. Please help celebrate the unveiling of the new Poem in Place at Lake Aleknagik State Park. Reading by selected poet Tim Troll to be followed by refreshments and celebration. To register or for more information about either event, please email

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 6-8 pm: Kenai Fine Arts Center (816 Cook Drive, Kenai) will host a book release party for Dave Acheson, whose new book, Dead Reckoning, has just been published.

News from our Writers

49 Writers member Lynne Curry PhD has a new book out: Solutions addresses workplace challenges by offering strategies and answers that can change your work life for the better. For more information and to order visit Also available as an e-book! Click here for more info.

Our members are published regularly in the press, and the latest to pop up is Douglas member Katie Bausler, whose piece “When endless sunshine become too much to bear” appeared the other day in the Alaska Dispatch news–a soggy Southeast perspective on summer.

Opportunities for Alaskan Writers
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. The application deadline is Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 9:59pm (AKDT).

Remember that the deadline for the Winter Solstice issue of Cirque is approaching: Sept.15 for publication on Dec. 15. Visit for more information on how to submit and to read the journal full-text.

Nominations for the 2015 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities are now open. Learn more at the Alaska State Council on the Arts website. The categories are: Arts Education, Native Arts, Arts Organization and Individual Artist. In addition, the Alaska State Council on the Arts’ Literary Advisory Committee will accept nominations for the State Writer Laureate, who will be appointed by the Governor to a two year term (2015-2016). Deadline for both is October 1.

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