Literary Roundup | March 3-16, 2017

Have news, events, or opportunities you’d like to see listed here? Email details to info (at) with “Roundup” as the subject. Spread the word. Your message must be received by close of business the Wednesday before the roundup is scheduled to run at the latest. Unless your event falls in the “Opportunities and Awards” category, it should occur no more than 30 days from when we receive your email. Thanks! 49 Writers Statewide Roundup appears biweekly, on the first and third Friday of each month.  


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)

Registration is open now for classes in JNU, ANC, and FAI. Browse the course list and register now!

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Congrats to Alaska Native writer Ishmael Hope on the pending release of his second poetry collection, Rock Piles Along the Eddy, to be released on March 21, 2017 from Ishmael Reed Publishing Company. More info

Congrats to author, teacher, and former 49 Writers board president Don Rearden! His book, co-written with Jimmy Settle, called Never Quit, hit the bestseller list of Amazon even before its official release. Check out this KTUU story, and plan to attend at least one of the events listed below! Thanks in advance, too, to our friends at the University of Alaska Anchorage Campus Bookstore who will be selling copies of Never Quit as well as Brian Castner’s books on site at our March 12 Crosscurrents event.

Congrats to author Marybeth Holleman, whose memoir The Heart of the Sound is a finalist for the 2016 Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature.

All 25 years of Alaska Women Speak back issues are now archived in the Acquisitions Library at University of Alaska Anchorage, thanks to volunteers MaryLee Hayes and Barbara Williams! See below for more AWS news.

Hi, everyone! It’s been a wonderful and busy spring term, so far. After Roger Reeves fantastic JNU-ANC-FAI tour, we’ve enjoyed events with Mary Odden and Daryl Farmer, and we’re looking forward to welcoming Brian Castner to Alaska very soon. Don’t miss him in JNU and ANC. We still have some room in his full day nonfiction writing workshop on Saturday, March 11 in JNU (details below). This workshop, designed to bring civilian and military/veteran writers together, still has space. Please spread the word: any writer with military affiliation past or present is eligible to enroll at the member rate of $90 (down from $115) or email to inquire about one of two scholarships set aside for military or veteran students. Want to help out? Invite friends who might be interested to the following events, and if you’re planning on attending, make that known, too! Brian Castner Reading & Craft Talk at Mendenhall Valley Library, March 10 | Brian Castner nonfiction writing workshop, JNU, March 11 | Brian Castner, Don Rearden, and Matthew Komatsu Crosscurrents event, ANC, March 12.

In addition to Castner’s class in Juneau, we have writing classes coming up in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Don’t delay — sign up now!



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 | “Playing with Description” writing workshop with Lynn Lovegreen. Saturday, March 11, 2017, 2-5 pm at AKHF, Ship Creek. Register ASAP! “Good writers use description to set scenes, reveal character, produce images, and establish voice. We’ve all read great lines or sentences that describe perfectly, or winced when a writer does too much or not enough. How do we utilize the power of description most effectively? Together, we’ll explore the art of description through reading and discussion of examples, in-class writing exercises, and consideration of specific audiences, genres, and styles. This no-homework, one-time class will equip and inspire you to enliven your own writing with crisp, impactful descriptions.” | Lynn Lovegreen grew up and remains in Alaska. She taught for twenty years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and volunteering at her local library. Her young adult/new adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters. $45 members / $55 nonmembers. Click here (and scroll down) to register online now.

ANCHORAGE | March 12, 2017, doors 6:30, starts at 7 | Don Rearden, Brian Castner, and Matthew Komatsu Crosscurrents event, 49th State Brewing Co., Anchorage. Facebook event.

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 | Alaska Women Speak and The Living Room Reading Series present Mary Samuel, Wendy Brooker, Patricia Pierce, Megan Zlatos, Christy Everett, and Nan Potts. Mix and mingle with fellow writers, listeners, and readers following the reading. Questions? | The Living Room Reading Series is held every 2nd Wednesday 7-9 pm at Jitters, features writers and book lovers. Sign up to read, or come listen. Jitters Coffee House 11401 Old Glenn Highway

ANCHORAGE | “Walking the Line” poetry workshop with Susanna J. Mishler. April 8, 2017, 2-6 pm |”What exactly is a poetic line made of? What difference does it make where the line “breaks?” In this workshop participants will examine lines by contemporary English-language poets which are used to achieve very different effects. We will also experiment with lineation strategies and types with in-class exercises. Our exercises and guided discussion will help illuminate what makes a strong poetic line, and how an understanding of poetic lines can enhance our own writing and reading. Suitable for poets and prose writers, as well as readers who would like to broaden their knowledge of poetic craft.” | Susanna J. Mishler’s poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poems, Termination Dust, was published by Red Hen Press/Boreal Books in 2014. Susanna holds an MFA in Poetry from The University of Arizona in Tucson, where she served as a poetry editor for Sonora Review. She’s the recipient of a Peter Taylor Fellowship in Poetry from the Kenyon Review Writer’s Workshop, and the Bill Waller Writing Award from the University of Arizona. $55 members, $65 nonmembers. All experience levels welcome. Click here and scroll down to register.

The 2017 Mat-Su Young Writers Conference, April 29, sponsored by Publication Consultants and the Mat-Su School District, seeks speakers to present on a number of writerly topics. To apply as an author speaker, contact Evan Swensen at evan@Publication

3rd Annual Alaska Audiobook Narrator’s Workshop. “This could be your ticket to making a good living as an audiobook narrator. Thousands of new audiobooks are being produced every year and the demand keeps growing. And with modern technology, narration work that was once only available if you lived in LA or NYC is now available even here in Alaska!” Friday, May 26, 2017, 9-5, Alaska Communications Business Technology Center, Anchorage. $150. Topics: 1. What is involved in becoming an Audiobook Narrator, 2. Building a Home Studio, 3. What is the best software for recording audiobooks, 4. Getting Paid to Act Without Memorizing a Script Or Doing Improv in a Smoky Bar, 5. One on One Sessions with Johnny and Sean (and a live studio audience). If you are interested email to basil at basilsands dot com with your name and an indication of your experience level, if any, in the following areas: audiobooks, stage acting, on camera acting, radio work.


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.

FAIRBANKS | Prose writing workshop with Erica Watson, three consecutive Saturdays, 2-5 PM, April 8, 15, 22, 2017 / 3 hour sessions (9 total) / all experience levels welcome.  | “Minding the Minutiae: For many of us, the drive to write comes not from a need to tell a particular story, but rather to explore an idea, a fragmented memory, or an obsession. There is often a great distance between what interests the writer and what compels a reader. In this course, students will focus on techniques for identifying and relaying meaning to readers. We will study writers who produce dynamic and thoughtful nonfiction books and essays using their own lives as starting points rather than primary subjects. We will examine how research, metaphor, and syntax can propel narratives of discovery, even if, as many of us fear about our own lives, nothing much actually happens. Students will produce new work in class, provide each other with feedback, and leave with tools to move their work forward.” Erica Watson is an essayist living on the boundary of Denali National Park. She is a 2014 graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage MFA program, where she was awarded the Wenger Award for Excellence. Her work has appeared recently in Edible Alaska, Pilgrimage, the Denali National Park Climate Change Anthology, and she has forthcoming pieces in and High Desert Journal. $125 members / $145 nonmembers. Click here (and scroll down) to register online.   


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. FREE. 6:30 pm at Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. Afterward, Julie and Jeremy will head over to the Rockwell for a late meal, a drink, and socializing — everyone is welcome!

JUNEAU | The Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) and the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council (JAHC) present the ten state finalists for the 2017 Alaska Poetry Out Loud Competition. These ten students have progressed in competition at classroom, school, and regional levels across Alaska. Each student will represent their schools and communities at the Alaska State Poetry Out Loud Competition on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 in Juneau at @360 North at 5 pm. The Alaska State Champion will then advance to the National Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, DC in April. Live webstream will be available here: . The Alaska State Poetry Out Loud Finalists for 2017:

  • Jania Tumey West Anchorage High School
  • Isabella Weiss Colony High School
  • Sarah Price North Pole High School
  • Elissa Koyuk Juneau Douglas High School
  • Juan Sarmiento Homer High School
  • Ashelyn Rude Glennallen School
  • Amanda Davison Anguiin School
  • Elisa Larson Petersburg School
  • Moriyah Lorentzen Tanalian School
  • Madeline Andriesen Haines School

Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.  In the 2016-2017 school year, Poetry Out Loud celebrates its twelfth anniversary, reaching millions of students from more than 7,300 schools nationwide. More info

JUNEAU | 49 Writers presents 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 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. FREE

2) Saturday, March 11, 2017, 10 am – 4 pm, location APK Building classroom, 395 Whittier Street, Juneau, 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. All military — active duty or veterans — plus 49 Writers members are invited to register at the member rate of $90. Regular price is $115. Two full scholarships are available to military personnel — email to inquire about a scholarship. To register or learn more, click here and scroll down

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.


Two scholarships for any active duty or veteran service member are available to attend the nonfiction writing workshop in Juneau on Saturday, March 11, led by author Brian Castner. 49 Writers and military or veteran writers are all also eligible to enroll at the discounted member rate of $90.

Alaska Women Speak is now accepting prose and poetry submissions for the upcoming Summer 2017 issue.  Theme: The Mountains Are Calling.  Deadline:  May 15, 2017.

Cirque is now accepting prose, poetry, and visual art submissions. Send to by March 21, 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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