Literary Roundup | March 15-21, 2019

Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming details on the following exciting 49 Writers programs:

ANCHORAGE | Writing the In-Between: Hybrid Forms and Generating Drafts with Nicole Stellon O’Donnell

Saturday, April 13, 9:30 AM—12:30 PM | Anchorage Community House, 3502 Spenard Rd, Anchorage, AK 99503, USA

Sometimes a draft makes immediately clear whether it wants to be a poem or a piece of prose. Other times it’s not so clear. Is it a prose poem or flash nonfiction? A brief essay or a little brick of words? Hybrid forms may resist naming, but they’re rich for generating and expanding drafts. Sometimes the longer you can hold out on fitting a piece into the form you were expecting it to be, the more you can generate. In this workshop, we’ll examine hybrid forms and explore their potential as a part of a writer’s process. Participants will experiment with hybrid forms and generate new work. We’ll end our workshop with a brief introduction to literary magazines that are friendly to submissions of hybrid forms.

Instructor bio: Nicole Stellon O’Donnell’s first collection, Steam Laundry, won the 2013 WILLA Literary Award for Poetry. Her second book, You Are No Longer in Trouble, a memoir-in-flash about being a teacher, a student, and a principal’s daughter launches March 2019 from the Marie Alexander Series. Her third book, Everything Never Comes Your Way, a collection of poems, will be published by Boreal Books in 2020.

In addition to teaching this 49 Writers class, Nicole will hold an Anchorage book launch on Friday, April 12, 2019 at the Writer’s Block Bookstore and Cafe. 

ANCHORAGE | Writers, Seekers, Pilgrims: A Session on Thomas Merton taught by Kathleen Witkowska Tarr

Anchorage: Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 2-6 pm at Anchorage Community House |3502 Spenard Road, 99503 | (located behind/west of Church of Love. Plenty of off-street parking)

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) gained an international reputation across faith traditions as one of the most important spiritual thinkers and teachers of the 20th century. As the author of We Are All Poets Here, Kathleen Witkowska Tarr has explored the significance of Merton’s important sojourn to Alaska in autumn 1968. His time in Alaska bridged the twenty-seven years Merton spent living and writing as a celebrity-monk in a Kentucky monastery and his untimely death in Asia.  

This workshop highlights Merton the literary man. What can poets, essayists, and memoirists writing today learn from his style and methods of engagement with the world-wide audience of his readers? Exploring excerpts from his most famous works, we shall reflect on questions that arise in our brief encounter with this writer-monk in the context and radiance of our own literary work and spiritual journeys.

  • Kim Heacox, author of many books about Alaska including the novel Jimmy Bluefeather, will appear and teach in Juneau on April 7 and then again in Haines. Stay tuned.
  • Juneau members have begun gathering monthly at the downtown library. Board member Katie Bausler says, “we’ll discuss what we’re reading, what we’re writing (or not), and exercise our writing muscles a bit.” Suggestions for themes and activities welcome, tea and snacks provided. Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, March 19, 6:45-8 p.m.
  • Anchorage, save the date for a Mary Oliver tribute evening at The Writer’s Block April 21, 2019.
  • Juneau, keep your eyes peeled for a food-writing class with Julia O’Malley coming up in June!

Sunday, March 17, 2019: OUT NORTH’s Radio Station KONR Ultra Far Out show with Jesus Landin-Torrez will feature poet Mar Ka (a.k.a. Mary Kancewick), author of the recently released collection Be-hooved (UAPress Literary Series). The show can be streamed live.


EAGLE RIVER | Sunday, March 17, 2019 (St. Patrick’s Day) from 1-3 PM | Monica Devine’s new book Water Mask will be launched at Jitters Cafe. Published by University of Alaska Press, the book is a collection of stories that reflect on family, place, work, memory, perception, and culture.

ANCHORAGE | 49 Writers and The Anchorage Museuem presents | Author Caroline Van Hemert—a talk and book signing| Wednesday, March 20, 2019 from 7-8:30 PM for her newly released book, The Sun is a Compass. The book is a memoir that blends Alaska adventure, natural history and personal narrative. Hear stories about her 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Chukchi Sea. Her research and expeditions have been featured by the New York Times and other major media outlets. Event to be held at the Anchorage Museum. Event is free; use the museum’s 7th Ave entrance. Additional details available on the museum’s website here. See also her event at the UAA Campus bookstore, below.

ANCHORAGE | Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 7 PM | Poet Mar Ka (a.k.a. Mary Kancewick), author of Be-hooved, released February 15, will be the featured poet, with Polish Nobel Prize winning poet Wislawa Szymborska as the marquee poet, at Poetry Parley a The Writer’s Block Bookstore. Celebrate the vernal equinox and the super moon with eco-poems and poems of witness. Mar Ka will read from her new book, and also new work.


ANCHORAGE | March 2019 | The UAA Campus bookstore has announced literary events coming in March 2019. All events are free and open to the public. F

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019 from 4-6 PM: Kenneth and Kathy Privratsky present Every Step Together on the Camino de Santiago. In 2017, in celebration of their 70th year birthdays, the Privratskys walked roughly 600 miles from France across northern Spain –on the famous pilgrimage route Camino Francés to the Atlantic Ocean. The couple have lived in Alaska for over 25 years. Ken is a retired U.S. Army major general and transportation executive. Kathy, also retired, is an assistive technology and communications specialist, co-founder and former Executive Director of Assistive Technology of Alaska.
  • Monday, March 25, 2019 from 4-6 PM: Caroline Van Hemert presents The Sun Is A Compass, A 4,000-Mile Journey into The Alaskan Wilds. At this event, Van Hemert will discuss writing The Sun Is a Compass, offer a slide presentation, answer questions and sign books. Van Hemert received her PhD from the Dept. of Biology and Wildlife at UAF, with a research focus on avian health and disease. She currently works at the US Geological Survey Alaska Science Center. See also her event at the Anchorage Museum, above.
  • Tuesday, March 26, 2019 from 4-6 PM: Celebrate the Work of J. R. R. Tolkien with Toby Widdicombe. In honor of Tolkien Reading Day 2019, all the many lovers of Tolkien’s work can come together to share their favorite passages from his Middle Earth fiction. This event is arranged by Professor Toby Widdicombe, Department of English, UAA.
  • Friday, March 29, 2019 from 4-6 PM: Writing for Children in Alaska: New Alaskan Children’s Books and their Authors. Alaskan authors Brooke Hartman, Tricia Brown and Matthew Lasley discuss the art of writing Alaska children’s books, working with illustrators and the steps involved in publishing picture books. Graphic Arts Books/Alaska Northwest Press published books featured.
    • Brooke Hartman’s writing has garnered national honors from Writer’s Digest, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and others. Her debut picture book, Dream Flights on Arctic Nights, illustrated by Evon Zerbetz, follows the adventures of a child as they soar through the arctic night. Along the way, they encounter a plethora of iconic arctic animals from ravens, and eagles to polar bears and narwhals.
    • Tricia Brown has written nearly thirty titles, including ten children’s picture books, most on Alaska subjects. In Charlie and the Blanket Toss, young readers learn about Alaska’s whaling culture through meeting Charlie, who’s working to overcome his fear of being thrown high in the air during the traditional Iñupiat blanket toss. Tricia Brown holds a BA in journalism from UAF and an MFA in creative writing from UAA.
    • Matthew Lasley presents Pedro’s Pan, a Gold Rush story, illustrated Jacob Souva. Inspired by the true story of Felix Pedro, a prospector who launched one of the richest gold rushes in Alaska’s history, Pedro’s Pan follows Pedro and Pan as they search for gold and purpose in the wilderness of Alaska. Matthew Lasley grew up in rural Alaskan community of Central. His family mined for gold near Central as well as in the Klondike. Today he is a teacher at Lake Otis Elementary School in Anchorage.

ANCHORAGE | Friday, March 22, 2019 at 7 PM | At The Writer’s Block Bookstore and Café |Alaska Quarterly Review celebrates its 70th issue! The evening will feature a staged reading of Rex Shannon’s Come Up Here, a funny and provocative short story about a boy from a deeply religious family who encounters God, who has some unexpected demands. The story will be dramatically presented by prominent Alaskan literary artists Don Rearden (God), Bryan Fiero (father), Amy Meissner (mother), and Shane Castle (the boy). Event will be held at Writer’s Block, it is free and open to public. For more information on AQR, please contact: 49 Writers is proud to be a Co-Sponsor for this event.

ANCHORAGE | Friday, April 26, 2019 from 6-8 PM | Story Slams hosted by Ms. Hayden from Begich Middle School. Please contact for more information about this event.

ANCHORAGE | Tuesday, April 30, 2019 from 6-8 PM | Hosted by students from the Story Works Alaska Youth Team (SAYiT), high school student storytellers and musicians from across Anchorage come together sharing stories of surprise discoveries, private courage, and unexpected gratitude. Story Slam will be held at Anchorage Museum. Only students allowed to participate, grand prize $100. See eventbrite page for details and tickets.


WRANGELL | Flying Island Writers & Artists group meets every other Monday 6:30-8 PM. Contact Vivian Faith Prescott for more information at


SKAGWAY | May 29 – June 1, 2019| North Words Writers Symposium with keynote speaker Susan Orlean, a previous The New Yorker staff writer and multi-award-winning author. The symposium will include multiple keynotes (including Orlean’s), workshops, and panels with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Symposium participants enjoy the luxury of small groups and one-on-one access to successful writers. See website for more details.

Alderworks Alaska Writers & Artists Retreat: Deadline February 15, 2019. Now accepting applications for summer residencies of 4-6 weeks. Owners Jeff and Dorothy Bradys’s idea is simple: give writers and artists a quiet, beautiful spot to create or enhance their works, and wonderful things will happen. Residency located in Skagway. For more details and to apply, see their website:

HOMER | June 14-18, 2019 | Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference is back for 2019 and registration is open! This nationally-recognized conference will feature workshops, readings and panel presentations in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and the business of writing. The keynote presenter Diane Ackerman, an award-winning poet, essayist, and naturalist, will be joined by fifteen other writers, poets, and publishing industry professionals. For many more details and to register, see the conference’s website here. Note: Thanks to contributor Carol Swartz for notifying us of this conference’s recognition as one of Poets & Writers’ top most inspiring retreats in the country! See the article here.


Catamaran Poetry Prize open for submissions, Deadline: April 20, 2019. The Catamaran Poetry Prize encourages the submission of previously unpublished poetry manuscripts across a range of styles, themes, and forms. A prize of $1,000 and publication in book form will be awarded to the poetry collection selected by the judge. See their website for details and to submit. This year, it will be judged by former UAA MFA faculty member Zack Rogow!

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