Linda: 49 Writers weekly roundup

Martha Amore with fellow Weathered Edge authors Buffy McKay and Kris Farmen,
reading from her novella “Edge of Somewhere” at Gulliver’s Books in Fairbanks

Thank you, Fairbanks authors, for a warm welcome last weekend and for some good conversations about the local literary scene and the needs of Fairbanks writers. We will be following up soon with a survey and looking at offering workshops there in spring 2014. If you’d like to participate in the survey but aren’t sure if you’re on our mailing list, feel free to contact us. It was a busy couple of days, with the First Friday opening at the Fairbanks Arts Association Bear Gallery, the beautiful quilt exhibition at Well Street Art Company, a literary reading at Gulliver’s Books, and the incomparable UAF English Department fundraiser for the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series, readings by Rancorous Dead Writers. All I can say is you wouldn’t believe who showed up in honor of el Dia de los Muertos: you had to be there. 

It was an especial pleasure to spend a large part of the weekend in the company of Weathered Edge authors Kris Farmen, Martha Amore, and Buffy McKay, along with their publisher Vered Mares. A big thank you to Christy Wiskeman at Gulliver’s Books for hosting their reading and for her efforts to support and promote Alaskan writers. Don’t miss the Weathered Edge authors at their next events, and the chance to hear Buffy read before she returns to her home in Rhode Island:

  • Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 9, 5pm, at Fireside Books in Palmer
  • Thursday, Nov. 14, 7pm, 49 Writers Crosscurrents event at Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center (W. 7th Avenue entrance)

David Abrams is in Alaska at last! Yesterday he gave a reading at Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer; today you’ll find him in Fairbanks as a UAF Midnight Sun Visiting Writer: Nov. 8, 3pm, David Abrams Craft Talk, a Conversation with Frank Soos, UAF, Murie 301; Nov. 8, 7pm, Murie Auditorium. UAF alumnus Abrams spent 20 years as an active-duty Army journalist. He was part of the 3rd Infantry Division deployed to Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, and his debut novel about the Iraq War, Fobbit, was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2012 and a Best Book of 2012 by Paste Magazine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Barnes and Noble. Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 9, 7pm, you can meet him in Anchorage when he gives a 49 Writers Reading & Craft Talk at Great Harvest Bread Co.

As we announced in last week’s roundup, we’re in the middle of our annual membership drive. If you follow this blog and enjoy the incredible diversity of contributions from writers all over Alaska, we would love your support in the form of a financial contribution! If you attend the events we promote in this blog, here’s a word from 49 Writers board president, Don Rearden: Stop for a moment and think about a single friendship you’ve gained or perhaps even just one great conversation you’ve had at a 49 Writers event. Now imagine if you were to place a value on such an interaction. Could you do it? What is such a moment–or the camaraderie you gain with a fellow writer–at one of our events worth? Invaluable, right? Not so! Show how you value the writing community 49 Writers continues to build: become a member or renew your membership today! You’ll be joining an extensive community of writers that stretches across the state: in addition to Anchorage we enjoy the participation of writers in Anchor Point, Barrow, Bethel, Chickaloon, Chugiak, Craig, Eagle River, Fairbanks, Gustavus, Homer, Houston, Juneau, Kodiak, Metlakatla, Nome, Palmer, Seward, Sitka, Sterling, Sutton, Valdez, and Wasilla–and even former Alaskans in Colorado, Florida, and Oregon!

Today, Friday, Nov. 8, 10:30am-2pmUAA Student Center Den: The Anchorage Neighborhood Writing Project welcomes you to its first free writing workshop on urban writing. The class will be interactive, with discussions, exercises, writing prompts, and suggestions to encourage participants to draw inspiration from their everyday lives and write about living in Anchorage. Join us at 9am for a breakfast panel about Mountain View, including a literary reading by Mary Kudenov. Bring paper, something to write with, a bag lunch, and stories to share. Parking free on Fridays. For questions or more information, contact Bree Kessler at The workshop is free and open to anyone in the community with a story to tell. The reading, panel discussion, and writing workshop are all part of ENGAGE Week: Urban in Alaska sponsored by the UAA Center for Community Engagement and Learning (CCEL).

Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 9, 7pm, the UAF MFA Creative Writing Faculty will give a reading at Bear Gallery in Pioneer Park, Fairbanks. Admission free! For more information, please contact Jill at Fairbanks Arts Association (456-6485, ext. 222 ). Gerri Brightwell is a British writer who lives in Fairbanks and teaches at UAF. She has two published novels: Cold Country and The Dark Lantern. Derrick Burleson is the author of four poetry collections and teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing at UAF. Daryl Farmer is the author of Bicycling Beyond the Divide and is currently an assistant professor at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Kyle Mellen is the 2013-14 Term Instructor in Creative Writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is currently at work on a story collection and novel.

Sunday, Nov. 10, 7pm, Pioneer Home Chapel, Sitka. Join the Island Institute for conversation and refreshments with writer Marjorie Sa’adah, as she shares many of the insights she’s gained from Sitka and its people during her two-month residency. Marjory worked on her book, At Home in the Going, but also dedicated much of her time and talent in service to the local community. She worked weekly with students at Pacific and Mt. Edgecumbe High Schools, with staff at SAFV and Brave Heart Volunteers, and with writers young and old. Join in the celebration to give her a warm Sitka sendoff before her departure next week! Special thanks to the Rasmuson Foundation: Marjorie came to Sitka through its new Artist Residency Program

Are you an Anchorage writer and/or reader who loves the library? If so, then the Anchorage Library Foundation would like you to show that love! We know that there’s an active group of writers taking part in NaNoWriMo at Loussac (National Novel Writing Month), so take a moment to find out more. (If you want to know how the novels are progressing, join the 49 Writers Facebook Discussion Group.)

The Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) and the Alaska Humanities Forum (AKHF) reminds you that nominations are still open for the 2013 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities. The arts awards are offered in the following categories: Margaret Nick Cooke Award for Alaska Native Arts and Languages, Business Leadership, Arts Advocacy Award and Individual Artist. Eligibility is open to any individual, organization or institution that has made a significant contribution to the arts in Alaska. The deadline for nominations is Friday, Nov. 15. Nominations accepted online; more information at ASCA website.

Sunday, Nov. 17, 2pm at Alaskana Books (the latest venture of Fireside Books), 564 S. Denali, Palmer: Don’t miss the kick-off event for the next cycle of Poems in Place, a wonderful program that installs poetry in state parks throughout Alaska. Featured poets will be Anne Coray, Gretchen Diemer, Julie Lemay, and David Cheezem. This event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by refreshments and conversation. A big shout out to Erin Hollowell for creating the beautiful Independence Mine and Lake Alegnakik posters (we’ll feature the latter next week).

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: UAA Creative Writing undergraduate students share their work and writings at this special gathering. A variety of literary genres will be showcased. All are welcome to attend.

Thursday, Nov. 21, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: As part of Alaska Native Heritage Month, Dr. Alisha Drabek will discuss the ways in which Alutiiq tradition and language shape contemporary literature in “Ancestral Ways in New Words”–do join her if you’re an emerging writer or interested in Alaska Native language and education and Alutiiq culture. Drabek is the new executive director of the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository in Kodiak. She is also a creative writer with a growing collection of poems and short stories, using Alutiiq phrases and settings. This event is sponsored by Alaska Center for the Book and the UAA Campus Bookstore, with assistance from the Alaska Native Heritage Month Committee, Alutiiq Museum, Alaska Bilingual Education Association and Afognak Native Corporation. The event is free, and parking is free at UAA’s south lot near the Campus Bookstore. For information, contact Rachel Epstein at 786-4782, or e-mail

Monday, Nov. 25, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Contributors to the jounral publication of “Transforming the University: Alaska Native Studies in the 21st Century” are invited to come together to celebrate their work and dedication to academia. Everyone is welcome to attend. This event is sponsored with UAA Alaska Native Studies and is held in honor of Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage Month.

For more information about any UAA Campus Bookstore events, contact Rachel Epstein at or 786-4782. Remember there’s free parking for bookstore events in the South Lot, the West Campus Central Lot (behind Rasmuson Hall), the Sports Lot, and the Sports NW Lot.

F Magazine is pleased to be hosting the 4th annual Alaska Statewide Youth Art & Writing Competition (ASYAWC – formerly the affiliate for the Scholastic Art & Writing Competition). This competition works as a great tool in classrooms to motivate youth to express themselves, work toward an end goal, create their best, and to experience what their peers around the state are doing. Click here for more information about the competition, which is hosted by F Magazine, a wholly volunteer owned and operated arts publication. The deadline for entries–December 16–is fast approaching! The top two ASYAWC finalists will be awarded a full scholarship to Sitka Fine Arts Camp, a two-week summer arts intensive.

Coming this January! The Living Room: Eagle River Writers Read every second Friday at 7pm. We’ll announce the location soon! If you’d like to sign up to be a reader at The Living Room, please email us your name and phone number and we’ll get you on the list. Readings will take place Jan 10, Feb 14, March 14, April 11, and May 9. We have room for 5-7 readers per month. Email us:

Yesterday, on National Philantrhopy Day, the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored long-time 49 Writers benefactors Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli with the Eugene R. Wilson Award for philanthropy, for their generous support of and tireless dedication to nonprofit groups in Alaska. Not only do they support the literary arts; they also invest in many initiatives and contribute to a wide variety of program and organizations that work for the betterment of our community and daily lives. Peggy and Joe: we salute you!

CONGRATULATIONS too to playwright, poet, and director Arlitia Jones, who is one of four artists selected for residencies in the Lower 48, an exciting program created by the Rasmuson Foundation. Arlitia is also co-founder of TossPot Productions in Anchorage; her latest full-length play, “Come to me, Leopards,” had a workshop production in October 2013 at Cyrano’s in Anchorage. Her play “Rush at Everlasting” received a reading with the Northwest Playwrights’ Alliance at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in spring 2012 and a full production at Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska in January 2014, and Anchorage in February 2014.

Her short play, “Tornado” was just selected as a winner in the 38th Annual Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival in New York City in July 2013. She is the recipient of an Individual Artists Fellowship from Rasmuson Foundation. Jones is also a playwright in residence with the Seattle Repertory Theatre for 2013-2014 seasons. Along with Cyrano’s, Jones received a grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum to write “Make Good the Fires” in celebration of 50 years of Alaska Statehood. “Make Good the Fires” was produced in March 2009 at Cyrano’s.

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