Weekly Round-Up of Alaska Writing News and Events

The 4th of July might have come and passed, but we still have some fireworks (read: spectacular literary events that are as dazzling as fireworks) going on in Alaska!

Don’t miss the members-only upcoming agent event in Anchorage. If you’re a 49 Writers member, you should have received an e-vite for a July 14 event with literary agent Jeff Kleinman, with special thanks to David Stevenson and the UAA MFA Program for bringing Jeff to Alaska.

In Juneau, our next member event is on August 6 from 7-9 pm; again, members should watch for details via email. (Not a member? Head over to our website to join.) And stay tuned for the fall schedule including Melinda Moustakis’ (Bear Down, Bear North – 2012 Flannery O’Connor Award Recipient for Short Fiction) NEA-funded tour of Southeast Alaska. 

On July 23, Anchorage readers, writers, and history buffs are invited to the launch of Anchorage Remembers, an anthology produced by 49 Writers in conjunction with the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Anchorage Centennial Commission. Join us at 7 pm at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson for this free public reading and celebration of the publication of work by 40 Alaska-inspired writers.

49 Writers flagship program, The Tutka Bay Writers Retreat, will take place September 11-13, 2015. Tutka Bay Lodge recently joined a small group of resorts/hotels recognized by National Geographic as one of the world’s unique lodges! Register today before the last few spaces are gone.

Last but not least, we’re looking for authors to get involved with Alaska Book Week Oct. 3 -11. Visit www.alaskabookweek.com and click the 2015 logo to participate. This year, you can also get involved with a video interview.

49 Writers Volunteer J.T. Torres


The new CIRQUE is out!

  • Susanna Mishler reviews Jeremy Pataky’s new book, Overwinter, considers the slippery “you.”
  • Vered Mares speaks of her father’s passing, the 2015 Andy Hope Award winner, Ernest A. “Tony” Mares.  Vered runs a publishing house with maybe six authors in her group. She warned her dad that his obituary would be her first published piece. So it is. 
  • Former Alaska Poet Laureate Joanne Townsend provides an “update.”  Cirque will continue this feature with other laureates/notable writers of the North Pacific region.
  • Poet, Emily Wall interviews Fairbanks poet John Morgan, about his new collection, Archives of the Air.
  • Alaska’s “Poems in Place” is covered in a feature by Cirque’s nonfiction editor Cynthia Sims.

Poetry Parley will be on hiatus for July and August. Starting September 20th at Hugi-Lewis Studio, Parley will kick off a new season with readings from 10 (plus) local poets. There will be no marquee poet. Send a note to poetryparley@gmail.com if you want to be considered. We will hold a few slots for new readers.

Anchorage Museum has posted their Schedule of Programs for July and August. Visit www.anchoragemuseum.org/media for the full list of events. Below are some of the highlights. To confirm details and dates, call the Marketing and Public Relations Department at (907) 929-9227.

  • Call for Big Wild Bike Stories. The Anchorage Museum invites bicycle commuters to submit their harrowing, funny and interesting stories about using Anchorage’s public trail system. The Anchorage Museum and Bike Anchorage will lead a bike tour on July 25 based on rider submissions. Email stories to bike@anchoragemuseum.org by July 13. On July 25, 1-3pm, take a tour of Anchorage through the stories of bike commuters. The Anchorage Museum and Bike Anchorage lead a bike tour of Anchorage based on the harrowing, funny, and interesting experiences people have encountered using Anchorage’s public trail system. Riders are encouraged to wear helmets and pack their own water. Register online. $10

  • Call for Stories of Summer Adventure. Are you having the best summer? Prove it and share your tales with a Pecha Kucha style presentation on Aug. 21. Contact lgarrod@anchoragemuseum.org by Aug. 14 if you would like to be a presenter.

  • Book Signing with Historian Doug Capra, 1 to 3pm, July 16. Historian Doug Capra signs his book “The Spaces Between: Stories from the Kenai Mountains to the Kenai Fjords” at the Anchorage Museum Shop. “The Spaces Between” is a colorful collection of articles and stories about the people and pioneers that helped to settle the eastern Kenai Peninsula. Readers gain insight to the life and times of a unique period of Alaska’s history. Free. Books available for purchase.

  • Crosscurrents: Anchorage Remembers, 7 to 9pm, July 23. To commemorate the historic rise of Anchorage from the first sale of town lots in 1915 to Alaska’s largest city in 2015, 49 Writers published the memoir anthology “Anchorage Remembers.” The book chronicles the history of Anchorage in the words of those who have lived it. This book launch includes readings by anthology authors who reflect on what makes Anchorage such a special place. This program is presented by 49 Writers and is supported by a Centennial Community Grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Anchorage Centennial Celebration. Free. Books available for purchase.

  • Teen Workshop: ‘Zine 15, Noon to 4pm, July 18-19. Artist Jimmy Riordan guides teens in designing their own ‘zines inspired by the Anchorage Centennial. Mixing text with historical and contemporary images, participants create their own publication, reflect on Anchorage’s past and envision its future. In conjunction with the exhibition “City Limits” and the Anchorage Centennial, this workshop invites teens to work with a contemporary artist and consider place and history while helping to create the future of Anchorage. Ages 13-18. Reservations required; enroll online. $55

July 12-21, 8pmNorthern Renaissance Arts & Sciences Readings Schedule, in conjunction with the UAA MFA Summer Residency. Join Keynote Writer Ron Carlson, Distinguished Guest Poet Sean Hill, and a class of Alaska writers such as Nancy Lord, Sherry Simpson, and Eva Saulitis for a week of readings to celebrate local graduating MFA students. All of the detailed information can be viewed here.

2015 Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing ContestJuly 25–26. The contest begins with an online scavenger hunt that participants can complete from anywhere. Along the way, they’ll collect four writing prompts, all of which must be incorporated into their story, which is due by midnight on Sunday. Writers can compete individually or as teams, and the contest is open to all ages. Cash prizes will be awarded to the best short stories of the weekend in the following categories:
·  Individual
·  Team
·  Readers’ Choice
·  Judge’s Choice
·  Youth (two prizes: elementary/middle school, high school)

Winners will also receive entry to writing-related events and the coveted golden sledgehammers.
Registration is just $25 for adults and $10/$5 for youth. Visit www.sledgehammercontest.com to learn more and register.

Events at the UAA Bookstore

July 15, 4:30pm-6:00pm, author Robin McLean presents Reptile House with Frank SoosReptile House is winner of the BOA Editions Fiction Prize.  The story collection is inhabited by killers and thieves, astronauts and cave explorers, moose hunters and country club ladies, all seeking some exit toward better dreams. Robin McLean was a lawyer and then a potter for 15 years in the woods of Alaska before receiving her MFA at U Mass Amherst in Massachusetts. She currently teaches at Clark University. Joining Robin McLean is UAF professor emeritus and Alaska State Writer Laureate Frank Soos. He is author of Unified Field TheoryBamboo Fly Rod Suite: Reflections on Fishing and the Geography of Grace, and he is co-editor with Kesler Woodward of Under Northern Lights: Artists and Writers on the Alaskan Landscape.
July 21, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Katherine Ringsmuth presents One Alaska, Many Traditions: The Global History of Alaska. According to Katherine Ringsmuth, “With every job I take on, my objective is to inspire a commitment to a place, its history and respect for all people who share it.” At this event, Alaska history is viewed in a dynamic, global perspective. Katherine Ringsmuth teaches American and Alaskan History in the UAA History Dept. and serves on the Board of Directors for the Cook Inlet Historical Society. She has acted as Alaska Curator for the Anchorage Museum and has published numerous books as historian for the National Park Service.

July 27, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Bonnye Matthews presents Mixing DVD Media with Novels to Enhance Communication. Bonnye Matthews is the award winning writer of the Winds of Change Series.  At this event, Tuksook’s Story: 35,000 BC and its setting in Cook Inlet, accompanied by a  20 minute DVD, will be examined. “Cook Inlet — The Setting for Tuksook’s Story, 35,000 BC, DVD” tells the story of how that area of Alaska came to be.  It gives a sweeping time travel from Pangea to the present, describes the dinosaur age, explains what flora and fauna the People might have encountered, and how the land came and comes to be. Everyone is invited to explore Cook Inlet’s past with fascinating research, geologic time and storytelling.

All UAA Campus Bookstore events are informal, free and open to the public.  There is free parking for bookstore events in the South Lot, the West Campus Central Lot (behind Rasmuson Hall), and the Sports NW Lot. Note:  UAA Campus Bookstore podcasts are posted in iTunes or iTunes U–just search UAA or UAA Campus Bookstore.  Or see http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/bookstore/events/podcasts.cfm.

Local Library Events

Book Signings



Fireside Books in Palmer will host a July 14 dinner with Sherry Simpson and Frank Soos, featuring music by Tom BegichRobin McLean will stop by in July as well. The former Alaskan has been getting lots of critical acclaim for her collection of short stories, Reptile House.




The Tutka Bay Writers Retreat: What better way to jumpstart your writing? Don’t miss out on a fantastic retreat featuring two outstanding guest instructors, Ann Eriksson and Gary Geddes! September 11-13 at the fabulous Tutka Bay Lodge. Sign up today!

Wrangell Mountains Writing Workshop presents RiverSong with Frank Soos, Michelle McAfee, Robin Child, and Nancy Cook, July 22-27, McCarthy to Chitina. The Wrangell Mountains Writing Workshop is pleased to partner with McCarthy River Tours & Outfitters to host a six-day, five-night adventure in the fabulous Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. This year’s workshop will feature poet and essayist, Frank Soos, who is currently serving as Alaska’s Writer Laureate, joined by accomplished singer-songwriter Michelle McAfee, backcountry banjo-diva Robin Child, and workshop director Nancy Cook. Together they will explore the ways wilderness can help inspire songs, stories, poems, and essays. Activities include an opening reading/performance and craft sessions in the comfort of the Wrangell Mountains Center’s facility in McCarthy, followed by three nights and four days of creative inquiry along the Kennicott, Nizina, Chitina, and Copper Rivers. Space is limited to eight student writers/ songwriters.

Alaska Writers Guild & SCBWI Annual Writer’s Conference, September 19-20, Anchorage. Early registration starts May 2015. www.AlaskaWritersGuild.com

Alaska Women Speak is looking for a responsible maven fluent with InDesign (CS6) layout and website savvy to join the all-volunteer crew as Layout Editor. Here’s your chance to create for a 23rd year in the running, statewide, quarterly publication! This is not a site-specific volunteer opportunity, but sound Internet connection is required. Occasional Skype sessions apply. If interested, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us at alaskawomenspeak@yahoo.com

13 Chairs Literary Journal, a new literary journal publishing short stories and poetry from new and emerging authors, seeks submissions and volunteers. They are currently composing their flagship issue, straight out of JBER, AK. To learn more, and to submit, email info@13chairs.com or visit 13chairs.com.

From July 1 to August 15 the Rasmuson Foundation Artist Residency Program will be accepting applications from Alaska artists and writers interested in a fully-funded two-month residency in the Lower 48. The eligibility requirements have changed—Alaska-based artists who have not received a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award are now also eligible to apply. A free information session detailing the program, eligibility requirements, and application process will be held June 26, at 6 p.m. in the Anchorage Museum’s Reynolds Classroom. Potential applicants are invited to attend in-person or by teleconference. More information can be found at rasmuson.org. If you have questions about the program, contact Jayson Smart at jsmart@rasmuson.org or call 907-297-2882


Have news or events you’d like to see listed here? Email details to 49roundup (at) gmail.com. Your message must be received by noon on the Thursday before the roundup is scheduled to run. Unless your event falls in the “Opportunities” category, it should occur no more than 30 days from when we receive your email.
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