Literary Roundup | Feb 17-March 2, 2017

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It has been a great pleasure to host poet Roger Reeves in Alaska. We brought him to Alaska on a three-city tour with the support of the Alaska Humanities Forum and the cooperation and support of partners UAF English Department and Juneau Public Libraries. Roger visited Juneau’s Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School, was interviewed live by Scott Burton on KTOO (listen here – Roger comes in at 6:00), gave a reading and talk at Mendenhall Valley Library, taught a sold-out 49 Writers class in Anchorage, participated in a fascinating Crosscurrents event with Joan Naviyuk Kane, and worked with MFA students in Fairbanks in addition to reading in the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series. Big thanks to Sean Hill, Jonas Lamb, Beth Weigel, Katie Bausler, Makenzie DeVries, Joan and Roger, Micah Allen, Barb Hood, Megan Zlatos, Christina Barber, 49th State Brewing Co., Copper Whale Inn, Juneau Public Libraries, UAF’s MFA program, UAA Campus Bookstore, and the Alaska Humanities Forum.

Roger Reeves and Joan Naviyuk Kane present “Poetry & Politics”, a 49 Writers Crosscurrents event, February 16, 2017

We’re proud to announce, as well, another special partnership with the Alaska Humanities Forum, whose mission is to connect Alaskans through stories, ideas, and experiences that positively change lives and empower communities. Our own mission, as you know, is to support the artistic development of writers throughout Alaska, foster a writing community, and build an audience for literature. In 2016, the Alaska Humanities Forum and 49 Writers partnered to launch Danger Close: Alaska, an Anchorage-based writing workshop, public panel discussion, and small-run publication seeking to bridge the military-civilian divide by uniting veterans and civilians in the task of producing high-quality, war-themed writing. That was spearheaded by now-board member Matthew Komatsu, a writer pursuing his creative writing MFA through the fantastic low-residency University of Alaska Anchorage program.

In 2017, 49 Writers and Alaska Humanities Forum will partner again to host a reprisal of Danger Close: Alaska, which will re-engage the Anchorage community through a public panel discussion and expand to Juneau through a writing workshop (“Danger Close: Juneau”) and public Reading and Craft Talk. All events will feature Brian Castner, author of The Long Walk and All the Ways We Kill and Die. This program falls under AKHF’s Duty Bound initiative.
Fri, 10 Mar: Castner Reading & Craft Talk event in Juneau
Sat, 11 Mar: Danger Close: Juneau Workshop (six hour writing workshop in JNU, with veterans/active duty/retired military incentive discount)
Sun, 12 Mar: 49 Writers Crosscurrents: Who Owns the Story? (Brian Castner, Don Rearden, and Matthew Komatsu) in ANC (note the new date)

Class registration is open for classes in JNU, ANC, and FAI. Browse the course list and register soon!


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We love partnering with Alaska Quarterly Review and Alaska Humanities Forum to promote fine lit — not to mention community and conversation — in Alaska. Building on a very successful Gary Holthaus two-evening retrospective celebration, we’ll join AKHF in supporting AQR once again as they launch their next issue on Friday, February 24. Details below.

Check out Northern Soundings, a great interview program out of Fairbanks, which features authors Daryl Farmer, Nicole Stellon O’Donnell, Carolyn Kremers, and others.

Check out the new Alaska Writer’s Magazine, published by Melissa Saulnier.

Author and investigator John Straley was recently honored by the Alaska State Legislature.

Coming into the Country, John McPhee’s book about Alaska, was published in 1977, introducing readers across the country to a wild place, less than 20 years into statehood. The book became a bestseller and is still popular. We’ve absolutely loved the Alaska Energy Desk‘s series of features occasioned by the book’s 40th anniversary.  Check them all out here.

Rasmuson Foundation announced the latest batch of Tier I grants. Hopefully, writers across Alaska will meet the March 1 application deadline for the Individual Artist Awards.


PALMER | February 18, 2017, Fireside Books in Palmer, Alaska presents a marathon reading of George Orwell‘s dystopian masterpiece, 1984, beginning at 10 am and running till the book ends. More

ANCHORAGE | February 24, 2017, Alaska Quarterly Review presents Mary Odden: “March” and the new AQR issue, in partnership with Alaska Humanities Forum and 49 Writers, at Great Harvest Bread Co. Mary Odden’s essays have appeared in The Georgia Review, Northwest Review, Nimrod, and in an anthology of writing and art, Under Northern Lights, edited by Frank Soos and Kes Woodward. Her book of essays, Mostly Water, will be published by Red Hen Press. Mary earned an MFA in creative writing from University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1995. She has enjoyed teaching various writing, folklore, and literature subjects as an adjunct professor in Fairbanks, McGrath, Glennallen, and statewide through the Rural College. She was editor and publisher of The Copper River Record, a community newspaper, from 2005 through 2010. Mary and husband Jim have lived and worked at jobs above the Arctic Circle near Kobuk and out west on the Kuskokwim River at McGrath. Their current home is at Nelchina, near Glennallen. In 2015, Mary received an Individual Artist Award from the Rasmuson Foundation to support her work on Mostly Water.

Reading & Craft Talk Series 

ANCHORAGE | March 2, 2017, 49 Writers Reading & Craft Talk Series presents “Surprise and Delight: Capturing the Indelible Moment” by Daryl Farmer, author of Where We Land: Stories (Brighthorse Books, 2016). 7 pm at Indigo Tea Lounge, 530 E Benson Blvd, Anchorage, AK 99501. Come early to order tea and snacks! Daryl Farmer is the author of  Where We Land, a collection of short stories and Bicycling Beyond the Divide, winner of a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award and also named as a Colorado Book Award finalist. He was born in Colorado Springs, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains where he developed a taste for the open road at an early age, and has spent a life roaming the country and writing about its landscapes and people. He has lived in New Mexico, Oregon, New Hampshire, Mississippi and Alaska, among other places. He received a B.A. in physical education from Adams State College (Alamosa, Colorado) and an M.A. and Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has taught writing at Georgia Tech. University, Stephen F. Austin State University in east Texas and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks where he is currently an assistant professor and director of the MFA in Creative Writing program.

ANCHORAGE | Saturday, March 4 from 1-3 pm, UAA Campus Bookstore | Author Bryan Allen Fierro presents Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul. Fierro brings to life stories that encompass Latino cultural expectations, saints, and Dodger baseball. The enchanting language and skillful writing recreate the sounds of people of East L.A. who become familiar as familyFierro is recipient of the 2013 Maureen Egen Writer’s Exchange Award for fiction. He grew up in Los Angeles and now splits his time between L.A. and Anchorage, where he works as a firefighter and paramedic. He holds an MFA from Pacific University in Oregon. There is free parking at UAA on Saturdays.

HOMER | author Daryl Farmer teaches a writing workshop March 3-5, 2017, and presents a public reading on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 6:30 pm, Kachemak Bay Campus

ANCHORAGE | Tuesday, March 7, 5 pm at the UAA Campus Bookstore | “A German Eyewitness Account of Losing Two World Wars: What Margritt Engel Discovered in Her Father’s Letters and Diary”. Margritt Engel shares her father’s letters dated Nov. 1917 through Dec. 1918 from Riga, Latvia written to his parents in Saxony. In addition, she examines her father’s diary written during WWII, dated from November 1941 to March 1945. Deemed unfit for combat due to a riding accident, Margritt Engel’s father spent both wars in the food supply service. His is letters and diaries offer a fascinating and intimate glimpse into the life of an East German during two world wars. Margritt Engel translated Journal of a Voyage with Bering, 1741-1742 by Georg Wilhelm Steller with O.W. Frost and  History of Kamchatka with Karen Willmore, published by University of Alaska Press. She is Professor Emerita in the Department of Languages at UAA. Free parking for this event in the South Lot, Sports Complex NW Lot, West Campus Central Lot, and Sports Campus West Lot.

ANCHORAGE | March 17, 2017, 5-8 pm Don Rearden and Jimmy Settle will be signing copies of Never Quit at Barnes & Noble.

ANCHORAGE | March 18, 2017, 5-9 pm | Book launch for Never Quit by Jimmy Settle with Don ReardenAnchorage Brewing Company, 148 West 91st Ave. Facebook event.

PALMER | March 25, 2017, 6 pm | Fireside Books presents an author dinner with Jeff Fair at Turkey Red | Jeff Fair wrote In Wild Trust: Larry Aumiller’s Thirty Years Among the McNeil River Brown Bears. Info and tickets.

ANCHORAGE | March 31-April 1, 2017 | Organized by the graduate students within the University of Alaska Anchorage English department, the Pacific Rim Conference on English Studies invites submissions in literature, rhetoric and composition, linguistics, anthropology, history, journalism, gender studies and other related fields.

EAGLE RIVER | The Living Room Reading Series, every 2nd Wednesday 7-9 pm at Jitters, features writers and book lovers. Sign up to read, or come listen. More Next one is Wednesday, March 8, 2017!


FAIRBANKS | UAF’s Midnight Sun Reading Series presents poet Roger Reeves in partnership with 49 Writers, Juneau Public Libraries, and Alaska Humanities Forum. Friday, February 17, 2017.

FAIRBANKS | February 18, 2017, Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center. Seven participants from Denali’s artist in residence program celebrate the park’s birthday with outreach. Literary activities include John Morgan, Linda Schandelmeier, Nicole Stellon O’Donnell, and Carolyn Kremers reading poems and essays about Denali at 2 pm, and an open mic at 3:30 pm.

FAIRBANKS | February 25, 2017, 9 am – 4 pm: Writing in the Dark Retreat with author Jean Anderson. Full-day workshop, focusing on Kindling the Fires: Creating Enduring Prose in a Cold PlaceMore info and registration.

FAIRBANKS | Fairbanks author and wilderness guide Michael Engelhard will read from and sign his two most recent books, American Wild: Explorations from the Grand Canyon to the Arctic Ocean and Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon, at the Northern Alaska Environmental Center (830 College Road), on February 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Also, wherever you are, check out Engelhard’s radio interview with author Charles Wohlforth here. The presentation will include a brief slide show, “Beast of Many Faces.”

FAIRBANKS | Saturday, March 4, 2017, 7 pm at the Bear Gallery | Fairbanks Arts Association presents a reading by Jean Anderson, author of Human Being Songs: Northern Stories.


JUNEAU | You have until February 25, 2017 to view an exhibition by poets Aleria Jensen and Jonas Lamb featuring a collection of original broadside poems on parenting and place, paired with montages of artwork by their children. The writing in this exhibit explores moments and musings that inform the experience of raising family in Southeast Alaska. These pieces are windows into family life and parenting against the backdrop of culture and community in Juneau, as well as the marine rainforest environment we call home. Juneau-Douglas City Museum, 114 West 4th Street.

JUNEAU | 49 Writers, with the support of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, presents poet Julie LeMay, author of The Echo of Ice Letting Go (University of Alaska Press | Alaska Literary Series 2017) with Jeremy Pataky, author of OverwinterMarch 6, 2017. Details TBA.

JUNEAU | Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest state finals. @360 North, March 7, 2017. Details TBA.

JUNEAU | 49 Writers and Juneau Public Libraries present author Brian Castner in Danger Close: Alaska in partnership with Alaska Humanities Forum, through their Duty Bound initiative. Brian Castner is a nonfiction writer, former Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, and veteran of the Iraq War. He is the bestselling author of All the Ways We Kill and Die, and the war memoir The Long Walk, which was adapted into an opera and named an Amazon Best Book for 2012. A contributing writer to VICE, his work has also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Wired, Foreign Policy, Outside, Buzzfeed, Boston Globe, Time, The Daily Beast, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and on National Public Radio. He has twice received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, to cover the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014, and to paddle the 1200 mile Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean in 2016. His latest project, a co-edited collection of short stories titled The Road Ahead, was published this month. His time in Juneau includes two events:
1) Friday, March 10, 2017, 6 pm at the Mendenhall Valley Library’s Large Meeting Room (free), a 49 Writers Reading & Craft Talk Series event titled Who Owns The Story?” Joan Didion said that a writer is always selling somebody out. Brian Castner will talk about his new book, “All the Ways We Kill and Die,” the story of the death of a fellow soldier and search for the Afghan bomb-maker who killed him, and what nonfiction authors owe their subjects when writing about their innermost lives.
2) Saturday, March 11, 2017, 10 am – 4 pm, location TBD, Brian will lead a full-day nonfiction writing workshop open to everyone, including civilians, active duty and veterans. Brian Castner—an Iraq veteran who has written about war and crisis, from Africa to the Arctic—will guide this nonfiction workshop, focusing on stories of people in extraordinary situations. Crafting such stories in an authentic way can be an outsized challenge for writers. Former soldiers can struggle to tell their own story. Those without personal experience can be intimidated to even try; the hunt, the sea, the conflict, is not “what they know.” This class will break down those barriers by exploring what makes extreme stories still human and accessible. Open to every writer, we’ll read and do generative exercises to get at the heart of a true war story, whether out in a combat zone or a rescue in the Alaskan bush.

Brian Castner is a nonfiction writer, former Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, and veteran of the Iraq War. He is the bestselling author of All the Ways We Kill and Die, and the war memoir The Long Walk, which was adapted into an opera and named an Amazon Best Book for 2012. A contributing writer to VICE, his work has also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Wired, Foreign Policy, Outside, Buzzfeed, Boston Globe, Time, The Daily Beast, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and on National Public Radio. He has twice received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, to cover the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014, and to paddle the 1200 mile Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean in 2016. His latest project, a co-edited collection of short stories titled The Road Ahead, was published this month.






North Words Writers Symposium will be May 31-June 3, 2017 in Skagway, Alaska. This year’s keynote speaker is world world travel and fiction writer Paul Theroux. After writing nearly fifty books of nonfiction and fiction set in the most exotic of locales, America’s greatest travel writer is finally headed for one of Alaska’s most notorious: Skagway. Paul Theroux will lead a faculty of seven acclaimed authors at the 8th annual North Words Writers Symposium. A maximum of 50 registrants at the 2017 North Words Symposium will also engage with a faculty of Alaskan writers that includes John Straley, Sherry Simpson, Deb Vanasse, Tom Kizzia, Andy Hall, and Lenora Bell. Learn more and sign up soon; 50 participants max.

2017 Kachemak Bay Writers Conference will occur June 9-13, 2017 in Homer, Alaska. Keynote speaker will be Jane Smiley. Details and more.

2017 Writers Tutka Bay Writers Retreat will occur September 10-12, 2017. Faculty to be announced soon. Details.


Rasmuson Foundation applications for Individual Artist Awards are open until March 1, 2017. The Foundation will host a series of workshops to provide an overview of the grant options and to answer application related questions. More info and a link to apply is available here.

The US Forest Service, National Park Service & US Fish & Wildlife Service partner to sponsor artist residency programs open to writers in wilderness area. Learn more here. Deadlines: March 1, 2017.

The Northern Review seeks submissions for their third literary issue (as opposed to scholarly issues), to be published in Fall 2017. Details below. Submission accepted through May 31, 2017. 

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