Weekly Roundup of News and Events

A Message from Don Rearden, 49 Writers Board President

It’s hard for me to believe that five years ago I sat across from Andromeda Romano-Lax and Deb Vanasse at a Kaladi Brothers table, sipping a mocha, listening to them pitch to me their shared vision for a statewide writing organization. Already over my head with work and my own writing hopes, I couldn’t really see myself finding the time to help get this little dream off the ground. But those two. They were persistent. Not to mention convincing. They talked me into joining the board. That decision was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made both professionally and personally. We now have something in Alaska that did not exist five years ago: a vibrant writing community. A village of Alaskan writers, if you will.

The behind the scenes work has been inspirational and we’ve been on a pretty incredible ride the last few years. While a gifted executive director and a dedicated board are key, our success is really due to you, our members. Writing workshops, craft talks, and signature events like Crosscurrents don’t happen without your support, your enthusiasm, and your volunteer time.

And now, as we prepare for another transition, we need you again.

After three years, Linda Ketchum, our beloved Executive Director, is leaving the helm at the end of December to do what writers are supposed to do. Write! In this case, write in Europe! Linda has done an amazing job, transitioning us from a founder-run non-profit to one led by an executive director, but now she’s ready for a transition of her own, and we’re going to miss her. Under her leadership we’ve seen membership and monthly blog traffic more than double, and we’ve established new partnerships with campuses, libraries, and nonprofits around the state. By extending programs from Ketchikan to Barrow, Linda has guided us towards our vision of being a truly statewide organization serving writers in many places. Her decision to move on was bittersweet, as she has enjoyed working with you all immensely and feels privileged to be connected to such a supportive community of writers.

Here is where you come in. With Linda’s departure, we’re opening our search for a new Executive Director. Are you, or perhaps someone you know, the right fit to lead 49 Writers? Do you have the experience and knowledge it takes to run a statewide non-profit for writers? And are you willing to work for beans? Yes, beans. Lima or kidney. Your choice! (We are a non-profit, remember?)

The future of 49 Writers begins today. Submit your cover letter and resume to 49writers@gmail.com. You’ll find the full job description on our website at http://www.49writingcenter.org: just scroll down the home page sidebar for the downloadable pdf document.

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Photo courtesy of Lila Vogt

A big thanks to our esteemed panel of writers who took part in Monday’s Crosscurrents event in celebration of Alaska Book Week! Peggy Shumaker moderated a lively conversation, with questions from the audience, about what it means to write about “the real Alaska”–if such a place even exists. We were thrilled to see Joan Kane, Deb Vanasse, Seth Kantner, and Beth Hill on the same stage sharing their diverse views on the topic. Thank you to the Anchorage Museum for partnering to make this possible and to everyone who came out to engage in the discussion.

Upcoming classes and events at 49 Writers
  • Tonight, Friday, Oct. 10, 7pm, Kenai Peninsula McLain Commons: Deb Vanasse and Don Rearden will feature in a reading and book talk entitled “Fact and Fiction: Life Into Story.” They will be joined by Seth Kantner, who is currently on his Alaska book tour.
  • Saturday, Oct. 11, 9am-12pmKenai Peninsula College, Room 132: Complex and Conflicted Characters: What’s in Your Character’s Pocket, a creative writing class with Don Rearden (The Raven’s Gift
  • Saturday, Oct. 11, 1-4pmKenai Peninsula College, Room 132: Perspectives and Viewpoints: Exploring Point of View, a creative writing class with Deb Vanasse (Cold Spell)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 14-Saturday, Nov. 8, 645 W. 3rd Avenue, Anchorage: Memoir Matters, a five-week workshop series with Judith Conte
  • Thursday, Oct. 16, 7pm, Great Harvest Bread Company: Reading & Craft Talk by Susanna Mishler, author of Termination Dust and an Alaska Literary Award winner!
For more information and to register for these and our November classes, visit our website.

Events in Anchorage

There are too many Alaska Book Week events (Oct. 4-11) to list here so we’re directing you to the Alaska Book Week website page, Anchorage Events!

Tonight, Friday, Oct. 10, 7-9pm, UAA/APU Consortium Library, Lew Haines Meeting Room (LIB 307: The Department of Creative Writing and Literary Arts will host “Remembering Dick Dauenhauer: A Memorial Reading.” Friends and admirers of Dick Dauenhauer are meeting to read from his works and remember his legacy. Light refreshments and free parking. Everyone is welcome.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 11, 10am-5pm, Loussac Library (Lower Level): The Great Alaska Book Fair will cap off this year’s Alaska Book Week. This is a great opportunity for readers to meet local writers selling their books at the Fair.

Monday, Oct. 13, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: The Art of Writing and Publishing in Different Genres with Steve Levi, Deb Vanasse, and Martha Amore. Steve Levi (Walrus with a Gold Tooth, and Cowboys of the Sky), Martha Amore (Weathered In, “Geology”) and Deb Vanasse (Cold Spell and Lucy’s Dance) describe their multifaceted books, writing styles and publishing today.

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook and Cooking Demonstration with Kirsten Dixon and Mandy Dixon. In personal stories, evocative photographs, and recipes that are purposefully simple and designed for the home cook, Chef Kirsten Dixon and her family share fresh, rustic cuisine offering friendship, communicating passion, and bringing comfort and delight to the table. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from Alaskan master chefs. Your taste buds will thank you!

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 7pm, Hugi-Lewis Studio. The October Poetry Parley will feature Jerry McDonnell as the local poet, reading from his own work. There were also be a reading from the work of Richard Hugo. Some of his poems can be found here. Please send a note to poetryparley@gmail.com if you want to read some of Hugo’s work.

Thursday, Oct. 16 & 23: Animal Stories Book Events. Anchorage author and essayist Bill Sherwonit will be presenting two talks and readings in October, tied to the release of his new book,Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska’s Wildlife. Sherwonit will appear at the Loussac Library’s Wilda Marston Theater on Thursday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m. and will then be at the Anchorage Museum on Thursday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m. Those who would like to learn more aboutAnimal Stories can use this link to do so: https://www.facebook.com/AnimalStoriesbyBillSherwonit. For more information about the author and his books and other writings about wildlife and wildlands, click here.

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 5-7pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Alaska Memoirs with Dave Atcheson and Jeff Schultz. Dave Atcheson discusses his memoir Dead Reckoning: Navigating a Life on the Last Frontier, Courting Tragedy on its High Seas–a story in which college students and “fish hippies” work in canneries alongside survivalists, rednecks, religious freaks, and deckhands with damning secrets in dangerous waters, driven by the need to feed an insatiable appetite for adventure. Photographer Jeff Schultz will discusses Chasing Dogs – My Adventures as the Official Photographer Alaska’s Iditarod. Schultz has served in this official capacity since 1982, traveling by plane, snow machine, snowshoes, and on foot to capture the race as no one else has.

Events around Alaska 

For statewide events Oct. 4-11, visit the Alaska Book Week website page, Events Around the State.

Friday, Oct. 17, 7pm, Juneau Arts & Culture Center: Woosh Kinaadeiyí will host their annual Grand Poetry Slam competition that includes a slam competition featuring winners from the past season. The poets will perform original work and are judged by members of the community. The winning poet will receive $50 and the 2014 Grand Slam Award. Competing in the slam are David Parish, Michael Christenson, Max Suzuki, Nathan Block, and Bill Merk. The event will also include opening performances by Katie Bausler, Gemini Waltz, Anna Hoffman, Miguel Rohrbacher, Henry Melville, Robert Stephenson, and Ziggy Unzicker as the 2013 Grand Slam Champion and Sacrificial Poet. The show will be hosted by Christy NaMee Eriksen and Conor Lendrum, with DJ Manu. The event is pay as you can, with a suggested donation of $5-10. Click here to learn more. Contact: Christy NaMee Eriksen, Woosh Kinaadeiyí President, christynamee@gmail.com,

Author News

Congratulations to Ross Coen on the release of his latest book, Fu-go: The Curious History of Japan’s Balloon Bomb Attack on America. (University of Nebraska Press). Ross is historian who writes about the American West, Alaska, and the Arctic, and author of The Long View: Dispatches on Alaska History and Breaking Ice for Arctic Oil: The Epic Voyage of the SS Manhattan through the Northwest Passage.

Opportunities for Alaskan Writers

NEW! A reminder from AWP that Early Bird Preregistration for next year’s conference ends Oct. 31! Register today so that you don’t miss out on our lowest registration rates for #AWP15, which runs from April 7-11, 2015, at the Minneapolis Convention Center and the Hilton Minneapolis Hotel. The early-bird registration period offers the more significantly discounted rates for North America’s best-attended and most dynamic literary conference.

The registration deadline for Alaska Poetry Out Loud is October 15! Complete information and registration for the program is available at the Alaska Poetry Out Loud website

Saturday, Nov. 8, 9am-2pm, Anchorage School District Young Writers Conference: Inspire the next generation of published authors by volunteering to share your craft and passion with students in grades 6-12. Showcase and sell your (age appropriate) books. Interested? Fill out this brief proposal form: http://tinyurl.com/n7wsgze. Authors do not need to be on site for the whole conference, but they are welcome to eat a pizza lunch with students, listen to keynote speaker Debbie Miller, and visit with students and fellow authors in a “Meet the Authors” space. Questions or concern? Contact Lisa Weight, Language Arts Curriculum and Instruction, ASD ED Center, at 907-742-4476.

Young Emerging Artists, Inc. is happy to announce that registration for the Alaska Region of the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition is now open to students in Grades 7-12 in public, private or home schools throughout the entire State of Alaska. Students must submit their work no later than Dec. 20, 2014. If you have questions please contact the President of YEA, Ben Ball, at ben.ball@yeaalaska.org or, if you have a contest specific question, write to contest@yeaalaska.org. Students and teachers register at http://www.artsandwriting.org.
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