Linda: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup

This is the time of year when we shift gears and start looking ahead to the next year of programming and beyond. It’s time to plan a whole new fall season, and we’re considering a variety of ways to provide a strong program of creative writing classes and author events in Anchorage and also in Southeast Alaska, where there has been an incredible amount of activity since the beginning of the year. Grants are being written! Partners and potential faculty are being contacted! As part of the planning process, we’ll be surveying our members and followers next month to solicit input on the types of workshops and events that most interest you.

Ernestine Hayes

We are especially excited to announce that the Alaska Humanities Forum recently awarded funding for a week-long Crosscurrents: Southeast program in September, featuring authors Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes. They will be participating in on-stage author events and giving writing workshops in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Craig. Full details will be available soon on the 49 Writers website and in the upcoming May newsletter.

Are you an Amazon shopper? They now sell a bewildering array of goods online in addition to books, and recently introduced a program called AmazonSmile that benefits nonprofits like 49 Writers. It costs customers nothing, all you need to do is log into AmazonSmile when buying and Amazon will automatically give 0.5 percent of the purchase amount to the nonprofit of your choice. We’re a participating organization, and each donation received through this program, however small, helps our efforts to support and promote Alaska’s writers.

Upcoming 49 Writers classes

  • Wednesday, May 14 & Saturday, May 17, Anchorage Museum: “The Pressure is Off: Independent Publishing Options for Writers” with Dana Stabenow and Deb Vanasse. Click here here to register.
  • Thursday, May 15, 6-9pm, Juneau Arts & Humanities Council: “Writing in 360⁰,” a class with The Raven’s Gift author Don Rearden, returning by popular demand. Click here to register.
  • Monday, June 2, 6-9pm, Juneau Arts & Humanities Council: “Perspective & Viewpoints” with Deb Vanasse. Click here to register.
An Opportunity for Writers

The Achievement and Assessment Institute, based at The University of Kansas, was recently awarded a contract to develop assessments for the state of Alaska. In order to create texts that will resonate with Alaska students, they are looking for writers to develop Alaska-related test passages. They are therefore recruiting participants for two paid summer passage writing workshops—one in Juneau in June and another in Fairbanks in July. Writers can apply by filling out a brief survey found here: . They will be selecting applicants based on the strength of their writing samples and background. If you have questions, you can contact Becky Mandelbaum, Passage Writing Coordinator, at or call (785) 864-1594.

Events in and around Anchorage

Tonight, Friday, May 9, 7-9pm, Jitters, Eagle River: The Living Room: Stories for Grown-Ups hosts its monthly second Friday gathering, an evening of readings by writers and people who love books. Sign up to read, or just come and listen. Mix and mingle afterwards and enjoy appetizers.

Monday, May 19, 4pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Michelle Theall presents Teaching the Cat to Sit, a memoir about growing up gay and Catholic in the Texas Bible Belt. In it she courageously comes to terms with the role of religion, motherhood and family in living a full, loving life. Theall has received numerous awards for her health, travel, sports and fitness articles and work with in Women’s Adventure magazine. Currently she is editor of Alaska Magazine.

May 20-July 29, Tuesdays, 5:30-8:15pm: Join the UAA creative writing community this summer by taking a multi-genre Creative Writing class (CRN 50367). Th is weekly course will introduce you to the works of renowned writers from Alaska and Outside who will be on campus in July. You will read their texts and practice writing techniques in each of the major genres. In July, we will attend a series of literary readings, meeting up close the writers we have been studying all semester. Students and local writers are encouraged to register for this course. Contact Prof. Aisha Barnes at or 786-4363 for more information.

Wednesday, May 21, 7-8:30pm, Loussac Library Innovation Lab: the monthly meeting of the Alaska Writers Guild features David Brown, author of Deacon’s Crossbow, in “Battle of the Book Tour.” David will share the ins and out, ups and downs of preparing and setting out on a book tour. Join the discussion with other members, which will include such topics as independent book publication, book tours, and marketing/platforming strategies.

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.

Susanna Mishler, poet

Wednesday, May 28, 7pm, Hugi-Lewis Studio: Poetry Parley will feature Susanna Mishler, reading from her newly-released collection, Termination Dust. Save the date now! Marquee poet will be Larry Levis. Readers are needed! If interested, contact

September 13 & 14, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Anchorage: Registration is now open for the 2014 Alaska Writers Guild Conference 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.

Around the State

Saturday, May 10, 11:30am, Fireside Books in Palmer: Author of the national bestselling The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Stephanie Thornton will be signing her newest novel, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt! When not writing, Stephanie teaches history in Chugiak.

Tuesday, May 13, 3:15pm, Juneau member Annie Boochever, author of Bristol Bay Summer, will be featured in “A Juneau Afternoon” on KTOO pubic radio.

Thursday, May 15, 12pm, Alaska State Historical Libary: Annie Boochever will give a presentation.

Upcoming deadlines for nominations and submissions

Wednesday, May 14: The 2014 Anchorage Press Super Shorts Micro Fiction contest is now underway. Winners in each category will have their stories published in a special Super Shorts issue of the Press. Fabulous prizes to be announced later! Check out the Anchorage Press for details.

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.

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.

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.

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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