Roundup for Literary Alaska

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! 


At 49 Writers, we’re actively slating in some great events and classes for the winter ahead. If you’re interested in possibly teaching during our “spring” term (Jan-April) check out the details and get in touch.


ANCHORAGE | Friday, November 11, 2016, 7:30 pm, Anchorage Museum | Polar Nights: Charles Wohlforth’s Beyond Earth Book Launch – Author Charles Wohlforth presents his new book, Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets. A leading planetary scientist and an award-winning science writer offer groundbreaking research and argue persuasively that Titan (a moon of Saturn with a nitrogen atmosphere), a weather cycle, and an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy offers the most realistic and thrilling prospect of life without support from Earth. Included with Museum admission.

ANCHORAGE | Wednesday, 7 pm, November 16, 2016 Poetry Parley featuring Jeremy Pataky reading original work and others reading poems by marquee poet W.S. Merwin. Becky’s Gallery (in the same complex as blue.hollomon).

ANCHORAGE | Friday, November 18, 2016POLAR NIGHTS: UNBOUND at the Anchorage Museum. Join “AKU-MATU” (the stage name of Allison Warden) and her invited guests for readings and performances of powerful literary works. Unbound loosens words from the page through monthly experimental literary events. Included with Museum admission.

ANCHORAGE | Saturday, November 19, 2016 from 1-3:00 pm at the UAA Campus Bookstore | Seals and Alaska Native Life:  An Event in Honor of Agnes Mayac and Ted Mayac Sr. – Esther Koezuna (Inupiat artist and skin sewer from King Island), Shaaxsaani (a Tlingit artist using traditional materials in contemporary ways), Ilarion Merculieff (author of Wisdom Keeper: One Man’s Journey to Honor the Untold History of the Unangan) and Aron Crowell (The Arctic Studies Center’s Yakutat Seal Camp Project) discuss their work and relationship with seals. This event is held in honor Agnes and Ted Mayac Sr.  and in celebration of Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage Month. Agnes and Ted Mayac grew up in the now abandoned village of King Island, 90 miles northwest of Nome and 309 miles off the coast of the remote Seward Peninsula. Agnes Mayac is a renowned skin sewer and doll maker, and Ted Mayac Sr. is a highly acclaimed traditional ivory carver and artist.  Both are deeply involved in preserving their King Island heritage and are members of the King Island Traditional Dancers. This event is sponsored by the Alaska Center for the Book and the UAA Campus Bookstore. All UAA Campus Bookstore events are informal, free and open to the public.  There is free parking at UAA on Saturdays.

ANCHORAGE | March 31-April 1, 2017 | Organized by the graduate students within the 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. See the call for proposals here.

ANCHORAGE | Do you know daily reading with your preschooler and toddler is the best thing you can do to prepare them to learn to read? Join the Anchorage Public Library and take the challenge to read 1,000 books before Kindergarten! Pick up (or print off) a reading log. Every 100 books, your child will get a sticker. At 1,000 books they will get a free Alaskan picture book! Join any time at any location.

ANCHORAGE | The Mountain View Library is hosting a write-in event for NaNoWriMo! Come join for three evenings of writing fun. They will provide laptop computers for any writer who needs one during the write-in.


FAIRBANKS | Fairbanks Arts Association hosts the oldest literary reading series in the state. Every month, writers reading their own work publicly at a community meet-up where people can connect with other lovers of literature. Readings are held on the day after First Friday, usually the first Saturday of the month at 7 pm. Most reading are held in the Bear Gallery in Pioneer Park, although occasionally in the summer (June, July, and August) the weather is beautiful reading are held outside to another spot in Pioneer Park. Upcoming:
November 5: Nicole Stellon O’Donnell
December: TBA
Additional readings and events may be held, but the First Saturday Literary Reading Series is monthly at 7 pm the day after First Friday (except February).


PETERSBURG | Cleveland-based poet Nikki Zielinski has spent the last two months as poet-in-residence at the Island Institute of Sitka, Alaska – an opportunity made possible through the Rasmuson Foundation Artist Residency Program. Nikki is wrapping up her time in Sitka with a short ferry tour during which she’ll stop by for events in Gustavus, Juneau, and Petersburg. She’s traveling with a brand new collection of poems, 14 Poems, a collection of unbound broadsides in a small box. Zielinski will read at Josef Quitslund’s house at 106 Gjoa at 7 pm on Friday, November 11. Others are invited to bring poems or songs to share, too.

Strongly influenced by oral storytelling traditions, including fairy tales and folklore, Nikki finds influence in various art forms and media, including visual arts, dance, music, television, experimental theater/performance art, film, contemporary philosophy, and art theory. Of her more recent approach to poetry, Nikki says, “Though my poems have always been musically focused and deeply engaged with the story-telling potential of the image, I have lately prioritized rhythmic momentum over more overt musical gestures (such as rhyme or scannable metrics) in an attempt to harness the mnemonic power of poetic form in newer, more flexible ways. In revising my work toward such musicality, I am also striving to build a personalized but permeable world of allusion from which I can draw, an imagism in which bodies transcend their objectification as muse and become instead independent, flawed, and utilitarian vehicles for expression; in which socially suppressed desires suffuse both body and landscape; in which the quieter violence of enforced silence and cultural invisibility manifests itself bodily and environmentally. As much as our memories and senses drive and shape our experiences of an environment or emotion, I strive in my work overall to create multidimensional sensory image-experiences that, though immediately apprehensible, accrue layers of meaning on further readings and contemplation.”

Nikki Zielinski’s poems appear in Best New Poets 2016, Cincinnati Review, Bellingham Review, Meridian, Southern Humanities Review, Sou’Wester, Vinyl, Birmingham Poetry Review, PANK, New Madrid, and elsewhere. Since receiving her MFA from the University of Oregon, she has received prizes, residencies, and scholarships from such organizations as Djerassi, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Ohio Arts Council, Bridport Arts Centre, Vermont Studio Center, and Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, as well as recent Pushcart and Forward Prize nominations. A freelance editor, she lives in Cleveland.

JUNEAU | Tidal Echoes is open to submissions. See Opportunities section, below.

JUNEAU | 6:30 pm, November 18, 2016, at the Walter Soboleff Building – Woosh Kinaadeiyí will collaborate with UAS Leadership Club Wooch.een in hosting the first Open Mic of the non-profit’s 7th season. The Open Mic is a non-competitive event open to poets and performers of all ages and all abilities.  Signups to perform start at 6 pm. Woosh Kinaadeiyí is a nonprofit organization committed to diversity, inclusive community, and empowering voice and organizes these free to low cost monthly events for the community. As a leadership club, Wooch.een works closely with the University of Alaska Southeast and community organizations to foster a better understanding of our State’s wonderful tribes and promotes an awareness of our State’s cultural and social issues. Together, the two organizations hope to create a space that encourages new (as well as the familiar) poets, writers, and thinkers to share their words with the community. Donations are welcome. Learn more at Questions? Contact Christy NaMee Eriksen, Woosh Kinaadeiyi President,






The entirety of Southeast Alaska is encompassed by the Cascadia bioregion. The fourth Cascadia Poetry Festival occurs November 3-6, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.

Alaskans interested in becoming an Audiobook Narrator can join Professional Narrator Basil Sands at The Alaska Audiobook Narrator’s Workshop with top rated Voice Acting Coaches Christa G. Lewis and Sean Pratt. Saturday, December 10, 2016, 9-5, Sandman Production Studios of Alaska, $100 per person, 15 Student Max. Learn more.

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.

An inordinate percentage of Alaska households (including seasonal cabins) feature a well-worn copy of Theroux on their shelves—travel classics like The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonia Express, meaty fiction ala The Mosquito Coast, or the cultural satire of Blinding Light. The places, people, and stories which arise from Theroux’s considerable literary talents define a territory in American letters that belong wholly to the master.

When Theroux lands in Skagway, he will bring his latest published work, Mother Land (Houghton Mifflin, May 2017), “a richly detailed, darkly hilarious novel” about a narcissistic matriarch of a Cape Cod family whose affections and quirks drive the saga of a “vast family that bickers, colludes, connives, and ultimately overcomes the painful ties that bind them.”

A maximum of 50 registrants at the 2017 North Words Symposium will also engage with a dazzling faculty of Alaskan writers that includes John Straley, Sherry Simpson, Deb Vanasse, Tom Kizzia, Andy Hall, and Lenora Bell. Former Alaska writer laureate John Straley is the celebrated author of mystery, history, and poetry. His tenth crime novel is called Baby’s First Felony. Sherry Simpson’s first book, The Way Winter Comes, has become an Alaska literary staple; her most recent book is Dominion of Bears: Living with Wildlife in Alaska. Thirty-six years in Alaska enriches the writing of Deb Vanasse, author of seventeen books, whose latest work, Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold, is a deeply researched biography of a Native woman’s role in the discovering the legendary gold of ’98. Longtime Homer, Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia’s latest book, Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness inhabited the New York Times bestseller list and pegged #5 on Amazon’s Top Ten Books of the Year list. Longtime editor of Alaska magazine, Andy Hall’s latest book is Denali’s Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak, a nonfiction account of the tragic 1967 Wilcox Expedition. Lenore Bell’s debut historical romance novel How the Duke was Won garnered the coveted Golden Heart Award from the Romance Writers of America. Her third book in the Duke series hits the stands about the time she hits Broadway in Skagway.

Incredible people fuel the symposium panel discussions, but much of the unique spirit of North Words derives from the wild world beyond Skagway’s boardwalk. Symposium participants will ride the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad 18 fabled miles up narrow-gauge tracks to the Laughton Glacier trailhead. Participants choose a guided hike to the glacier or a short walk to a rustic cabin for a guided writing experience. On another day, symposium participants are shuttled to a cookout party at Alderworks Alaska Writers & Artists Retreat near the ghost-town of Dyea. Registration also includes most meals, including an opening reception and keynote banquet. The North Words staff includes bon vivant Buckwheat Donahue, editor-writer Jeff Brady, publisher-marketer Katrina Woolford, and teacher-writer Daniel Lee Henry. Registration to North Words is now open to all writers—aspiring or professional—who seek inspiration, direction, a flesh-and-blood social network, and fun. One or two credit hours may be earned through University of Alaska Southeast. Please sign up soon, as the maximum is 50 participants. North Words is a non-profit event supported by its fiscal sponsor, Skagway Development Corporation – Community Development Services, with generous support from the Municipality of Skagway and other donors. To donate to the event, please visit the Sponsor page on the website. CONTACT:



2017 Tidelines Journey residency deadline is November 15. Peter Bradley of Sitka, Alaska’s Island Institute and independent artist Nina Elder are collaborating on a group residency program utilizing the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. Their call for applications is open now for artists and thinkers interested in moving through parts of Southeast Alaska while exploring the metaphor presented by the concept of “signal-to-noise”, the ratio between the strength of a desired audio signal and the strength of the background noise interfering with the signal. There is no application fee for Alaskans; an application fee of $25 otherwise applies. Visit this link and get your applications in by November 15th!

On behalf of Byron Mallott, Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, Alaskans are invited to contribute brief essays (150 words or less) to  “150 Reasons We Love Alaska,” a publication to be distributed in early 2017 during Alaska’s sesquicentennial year. Alaska Dispatch News will publish and distribute a booklet with entries. Submissions may be edited and then published with your permission. Also, if a photo and caption tells the story, send that. They welcome your thoughts about Alaska music, art, books, science, food, relationships, adventures — whatever describes who we are as Alaskans and what we want to be. This is modeled on the cover story of Time Magazine in July — “240 Reasons to Celebrate America”. They are not just soliciting affirmations, but also overlooked history, the things we as a state can improve in the future, or humorous anecdotes about failure — all are welcome. You may write about your occupation or specialty, but please don’t limit yourself. For example, in the Time Magazine issue the great jazz musician Wynton Marsalis celebrated Route 66, and many others gave shout-outs to their favorite regional foods or restaurants.  All points of view will all be honored – whatever your heritage or background might be – the more diverse the better. This event was a turning point for Alaska Native, Russian, and American cultures. Email Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy at or call 907-321-7558 with questions. Sooner is better, with 150 word pieces due no later than December 10, 2016.

The Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities ceremony will be held in Juneau on Thursday, January 26, 2017. Visit ASCA’s website here for information about last year’s Governor’s Awardees, and here for the Alaska State Writer Laureate program.

Tidal Echoes, Southeast Alaska’s literary and arts journal published through the University of Alaska Southeast, is currently looking for submissions from all of Southeast Alaska and we hope to see people from all communities share their creative work. Our deadline is December 1st, 2016. They accept prose, poetry, paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics, and more. Everything must be in a digital format, which means you need to scan art pieces or take photographs of them, so that they can be easily uploaded to our submission page on Submittable. The website is a quick and easy way to upload your work. A short bio will need to be provided alongside your contact information.

Alaska Women Speak is accepting submissions.

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