Linda: 49 Writers Round-Up

Thank you to author and columnist Elise Patkotak, who closed our spring Reading & Craft Talk last night at Great Harvest Bread Company by sharing her wit, wisdom—and serious side, as well as talking about her experiences with self-publishing. Thank you too to the couple dozen people who forsook the sunny spring evening outisde to support our author! Once again, we are indebted to Dirk and Barb at Great Harvest Bread for hosting this series, which draws a consistent and varied crowd. We always love to see new faces there and you never disappoint.

We’re pleased to announce the addition of another class by Don Rearden to the Juneau schedule. Don will teach “Writing in 360⁰” for writers who are struggling with setting in their stories or interested in learning more about the nuances. As Don says, “No one lives in a setting, and life doesn’t happen in a setting.” Join him to learn how to advance your fiction and non-fiction to the next level by giving your writing a 360º transformation. More details here.

This year, some 40 people participated in our annual Write-a-thon on April 11 and 28 individuals raised almost $6,000—a phenomenal effort for which we are hugely appreciative. Individual contributions are key to the continuation of our classes and events, and everyone at 49 Writers thanks you profoundly. Top fundraiser this year was Danielle Lattuga ($835)—way to go, Danielle! She was followed by Karen Benning, Lucian Childs, and Deb Vanasse. Between them, the winning team, Use Your Words, raised $1,470. Members included Karen Benning, Lucian Childs, Deb Vanasse, Caroline Van Hemert, Don Rearden, and Martha Amore. Thank you, one and all!

David Stevenson and Justin Herrmann at yesterday’s
book release party in Anchorage

Congratulations to David Stevenson, director of UAA’s MFA program, and Justin Herrmann, MFA graduate, on the release of their books!  Of Letters from Chamonix, stories and a novella, Craig Childs says, “Stevenson plays his stories out like a rope taut with the weight of his characters’ lives.” Josip Novakovich considers Justin, author of Highway One, Antarctica: Stories, to be “one of the best new voices in short fiction—deep and entertaining as hell…” Alaskan writers to be proud of.

Upcoming 49 Writers classes

  • Saturday, Apr. 26, 1-3pm, Juneau Arts & Humanities Council: “Every Day a Victory: How to organize your life to write that book you’ve always talked about,” a class with award-winning Sitka author John Straley. Click here to register. Still two slots left!
  • 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.
Anchorage events

Tonight, Friday, Apr. 25, 7-9pm: Springtime in Alaska Brings Yellow Umbrellas from the Alaska Quarterly Review! Join them for the book launch party in Anchorage at TapRoot (3300 Spenard Road) and enjoy a night of jazz, conversation, cocktails, and readings from AQR’s featured poets Joan Naviyuk Kane, Eva Saulitis, and Sean Hill. Admission $7. The latest and 31st edition includes a wide variety of compelling short stories, provocative essays and poems from more than 35 different poets. Purchase a copy for $8.95 at bookstores throughout Alaska or on the web at

Saturday Apr. 26, 2-4pm, Ann Stevens Room in the Loussac Library: Celebrate the Bard’s birthday at Shakespeare’s Sonnets, a reading celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday and of Poetry Month. There’s still time to practice your favorite sonnet, and even don a costume!

Monday, Apr. 28, 6pm, Loussac Library, Innovation Lab, level 4: A Conversation Between Alaskan Landscapes and Poetry. Please come to help Poems in Place discover new nominees for this year’s project! For more information, visit the Alaska Center for the Book website. See below for submission information, deadline April 30.

May 1-3 at the Captain Cook Hotel, The Alaska State Council on the Arts, in partnership with the Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation, will hold its 2014 statewide arts conference, Latitude: 2014 Alaska Arts Convergence, This conference offers opportunities for artists and arts professionals from throughout Alaska to network, learn valuable skills, participate in artistic activities and think big about the future of the arts in Alaska, and will interest arts professionals, artists, arts educators, volunteers, board members, and cross-sector leaders interested in how the arts can support Alaskans and Alaskan communities. $250 registration.

May 27, 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

Around the State

Tonight, Friday, Apr. 25, 7pm, UAS Egan Lecture Hall, Juneau, 7pm: Don’t miss the launch of the latest issues of Tidal Echoes, a literary and art journal that showcases the art and writing of Southeast Alaskans, published by UAS. 2014 featured author Christy NaMee Eriksen, featured artist Rachael Juzeler and some of the writers published in the this year’s edition will present and share some of their works.

Saturday, April 26, 11am, Fireside Books in Palmer: Tutka Bay Writers Conference host extraordinaire, Kirsten Dixon, will be signing copies of The Winterlake Lodge Cookbook. Then at 1:30pm you can meet Pam Flowers, author of Ordinary Dogs, Extraordinary Friendships, a Battle of the Books pick for 5th and 6th grade.
Saturday Apr. 26, 7pm, UAF English Department will host their annual public reading of Masters in Creative Writing candidates, in the Fairbanks Art Association Bear Gallery, third floor of the Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts, Pioneer Park, 2300 Airport Way.

Saturday, Apr. 26, 8pm, Juneau Downtown Library. Reading and book signing with author John Straley (Cold Storage, Alaska).

April 25-27, Prince William Sound Community College, Valdez, hosts Writing Down the Wild, a three-day workshop for creative nonfiction writers. This non-credit community workshop will be taught by Alaskan nature and wilderness writer Bill Sherwonit. The course will examine and practice the steps necessary to powerful and effective nature writing and will include time outdoors in the local landscape, along with readings and discussions. Registration limited to 12 students: click here for more information.

Sunday, Apr. 27, 2pm, Palmer Public Library: Poet Alyse Knorr will read from her work, then local poets will join her for an afternoon of poetry recitation followed by a reception. Sponsored by Palmer Arts Council.

Sunday, Apr. 27, 7:30pm, Sheldon Jackson Campus, Del Shirley Room: Sitka’s Island Institute will host a final reading by writers-in-residence Carol Green and Tamie Harkins. Don’t miss hearing new work by these fine and thought-provoking writers! Desserts and conversation to follow. $10 suggested donation.

Monday, Apr. 28, 7pm, Vagabond Blues, Palmer: the Palmer Arts Council will host a Poetry Open Mic in honor of National Poetry Month. Featured poets will be Alyse Knorr and Kate Partridge. Both ladies are new faculty members at UAA, having earned their MFA degrees from George Mason University. Their lists of published works is extensive. Poets from the Valley are encouraged to take their turn at the mic too!

Thursday, May 1, 7:30pm, the Island Institute in Sitka will host a reading by Alaska Writer Laureate Nora Marks Dauenhauer and past Writer Laureate Richard Marks Dauenhauer. Conversation and refreshments to follow.

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.

Outside events of interest to Alaskans

The incomparable Peggy Shumaker continues to criss-cross the country in the service of literature. If you have friends or family in either place, be sure to let them know this is an opportunity not to be missed:

  • Monday, May 5, 7pm,  City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco: Reading by Peggy Shumaker with Kate Gale and Doug Kearney
  • Thursday, May 8,  7pm, Poetry Foundation, Chicago: Reading by Peggy Shumaker with B. H. Fairchild

June 22-28, poet Camille Dungy, who recently visited Alaska, will be leading a five-day workshop at this year’s Minnesota Northwoods Conference,  For a schedule and descriptions of the workshops to be taught by the distinguished faculty, please visit

Upcoming deadlines for nominations and submissions

Wednesday, Apr. 30: There’s still time to participate in The Salmon Project’s haiku contest! You can enter as many times as you’d like, and the winning contestants will win great prizes including gift certificates to local sporting goods shops and salmon love swag. All entries must be received by midnight. Email your haiku(s), along with your name and phone number, to social@salmonproject.orgClick here for more information. 

Wednesday, Apr. 30: The Alaska Center for the Book annual Contributions to Literacy in Alaska (CLIA) Awards recognize people and institutions that have made a significant contribution in literacy, the literary arts, or the preservation of the written or spoken word in Alaska. The nomination form and information on past winners is available at For more information on the contest, call (907) 764-1604 or e-mail

Wednesday, Apr. 30: Poems in Place has extended their open call for poetry. The project will place a poem by an Alaskan writer in each of the seven regions of the Alaska State Park’s system in the coming years. Both original work and nominated poems submitted by appreciative readers will be considered for Independence Mine State Historical Park, near Palmer, and Lake Aleknagik State Recreation Site/ Wood Tikchik State Park, near Dillingham. No submission fees. An honorarium will be paid to the winning poets. See for more information, contest rules and entry form. 

Thursday, May 1: The Extreme Weather Mystery Readers Journal 30:2 will focus on Crime Fiction that takes place or involves Extreme Weather (snow, hurricane, blizzard, sand storm, etc.). They are looking for articles, reviews, and author essays. Author essays: 500-1500 words, first person, about yourself, your books & the “Extreme Weather” connection. Email for more info.
Friday, May 2: 360North’s new statewide television series, “Writers’ Showcase,” is looking for fiction and creative non-fiction for their live recording on June 5. Inspired by NPR’s “Selected Shorts,” the show uses actors and celebrities as readers. They are especially interested in fiction for this episode. The show’s summer-inspired theme is “endurance,” and they want pieces that are set in summer or reflect the theme of endurance, and are five to twelve minutes long when read aloud. Visit for more information. You can contact the shows producers with questions, or submit directly to to
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.

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 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 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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