Weekly Roundup of News & Events

This week, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced the super-exciting news that 49 Writers has been selected to receive a $10,000 NEA Challenge America grant to support a September 2015 literary tour in Southeast Alaska featuring author Melinda Moustakis. This grant will allow us to partner with Alaska Quarterly Review to combine live literary events in the Southeast Alaska communities of Haines and Juneau with distance programming, in pursuit of our goal to serve more writers across the state. Live offerings will include readings, workshops, an author panel, and a book discussion. In order to reach a wider audience, events will be broadcast live in up to ten other rural and remote communities via the Alaska State Library’s “OWL” video conferencing system. Several events will be recorded and posted online.

Out of 347 applications, 163 Challenge America grants were awarded nationwide. As our board president Don Rearden says, “The NEA award represents an important milestone for 49 Writers. We’ve worked diligently to build a reputation for excellent programming and service to Alaska, and this opportunity to work with Alaska Quarterly Review and bring Melinda Moustakis to Southeast Alaska is a huge honor.” Yes, we’d love to go to even more communities but must take one step at a time! Rest assured that Morgan, our new ED, will be working on this as we move forward.

In this latest round of NEA funding, ten grants totaling $210,000 were awarded to Alaskan artists and arts organizations. Congratulations to the other beneficiaries, especially Sean Hill of Fairbanks, who received a $25,000 Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry.

YOU’RE INVITED! If you’ll be in Anchorage one week from today, please consider joining our entire board of directorsour new Executive Director, Morgan Grey, and other members of the writing community for a casual, no-host meet-up at the Orso bar. Join us anytime Friday, Dec. 12, 5-6:30 pm, at 737 W. 5th Avenue, Anchorage. With an expanded board that includes three residents of Juneau-Douglas, it’s rare to find us all in one spot! We’ll be gearing up for our annual board retreat that weekend and would love to connect with members, friends, and anyone curious about the organization or eager to meet Morgan. See you there for conversation, happy hour deals, and a cheers to 49 Writers as we approach our five year anniversary!

Once again there was a great turnout (19) for last night’s writers group in Juneau. Thank you to Bill Hanson and Kate Troll for hosting, and to the five members who read from their work. For more information on Juneau area happenings, visit the 49 Writers website.

Looking for the perfect gift for a writer friend this festive season? Why not surprise them with a 49 Writers membership? A Matanuska membership costs only $49 for 12 months! Click here to purchase a gift voucher.

Upcoming events at 49 Writers

Saturday, Dec. 6, 12-2pm, 645 W. 3rd Avenue, Anchorage: 49 Writers Lit Mag Sale! In recent years we have accumulated a library of literary journals through generous donations from members and other writers. Until we secure our own long-term space, we are going to share the wealth with our members rather than hide the journals away in a basement. A second sale will take place in Juneau at the Thursday, Feb. 5 meeting of the Juneau writers group. This is a great opportunity to get your hands on some of the journals that might be interested in publishing your work!

Friday Dec. 12, 7pm: Jimmy Riordan presents Le Roman du Lievre (The Romance of the Rabbit). We’re excited to announce another unique opportunity for the Juneau 49 Writers community in the form of a potluck event hosted by Sarah Isto (1718 Willow Avenue). See the links below for an introduction to Le Roman du Lievre in under 3 minutes!

Riordan is an Alaskan born multidisciplinary artist and educator. Though technically trained in book-arts and printmaking, his practice is not bound by any specific media. Dealing in both images and experience, his work often involves collaboration, asking the audience and other artists for their participation. Community and location play a large role in Riordan’s choice of form and development of content. For more details on this event, please contact Jonas Lamb at 907-209-1509.

Events in Anchorage

TODAY, Friday, Dec. 5, 11am-1pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Ray Hudson and Rachel Mason present Lost Villages of the Eastern Aleutians: Biorka, Kashega, Makushin. This book documents the history of three Unangax^ villages left behind in the evacuations and dislocations of World War II, never to be permanently resettled. In 1942, the Unangax^ residents of the three tiny villages of Biorka, Kashega, and Makushin were taken by boat first to the Wrangell Institute, then to a camp at Ward Lake near Ketchikan, where they stayed until the end of the war. When they finally returned to the Aleutians, they were not allowed to go back to their villages, but were resettled in Unalaska or Akutan.

TODAY, Friday, Dec. 5, 4-6pm, UAA Campus Bookstore: Seven Years in a Madagascar Prison: The Stolen Years with Jean and John Wight. This book is the story of John Wight, an Anchorage pilot originally from South Africa, who is falsely accused of espionage in Madagascar. How he survives seven years of imprisonment, from 1977-1984, is explained in this captivating book written by his wife, Jean Wight. Currently, John Wight is Associate Professor of Aviation Technology at UAA.

Friday, Dec. 12. 7pm, Jitters in Eagle River: Don’t miss the next gathering of The Living Room, where local writers share their work and love of literature. Find out more and stay in touch by following The Living Room on Facebook

Events around Alaska

TOMORROW, Saturday, Dec. 6, 7pm, Fairbanks Arts Association Bear Gallery: Reading by poet John Morgan with artist Kes Woodward (River of Light). 

Wednesday, Dec. 10, 6:30pm, Seward Community Library: BookTalk/Reading: Join author Dave Atcheson as he discusses his new book Dead Reckoning, Navigating a Life on the Last Frontier, Courting Tragedy on its High Seas.

Author News

Congratulation to Anchorage poet Olena Kalytiak Davis, whose soon-to-release new book (first in a decade) received a great review in The New Yorker!

Opportunities for Writers

NEW! Fairbanks Arts Association will begin accepting entries for the 2015 Statewide Poetry Contest on January 1st, 2015. The deadline for the contest will be March 1, 2015 at 6 PM hand delivered or postmarked. Hand deliver entries to Fairbanks Arts Association, Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts, Pioneer Park, 2300 Airport Way.

FAA is pleased to announce that this year’s Poetry Contest Judge is Alaskan author, Joan Kane. Joan Naviyuk Kane is the author of The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife and Hyperboreal. A 2014 recipient of the American Book Award, and Whiting Writers’ Award recipient, she’s on the faculty for the graduate creative writing program at the Institute of American Indian Arts and is at work on new poems and across genres. Please visit www.fairbanksarts.org for more information.

Ooligan Press is proud to announce their seventh Write to Publish conference, slated for January 31, 2015. This conference will be held at the Smith Memorial Student Union located at 1825 SW Broadway, Portland, Oregon. This year’s conference is sponsored by PubSlush, a global crowd-funding platform for publishers and authors alike. John Mutter, founder of Shelf Awareness, will give the keynote speech.

Write to Publish is a rare conference, one that devotes its entire presence to demystifying the publishing process. This year’s panel topics include: how to write about difficult subjects, straight talk about contracts and rights, and how to create a professional platform, among others. Speakers include Vinnie Kinsella, publications consultant for Indigo Editing; Nicole McArdle, marketing director for PubSlush; and Shannon Wheeler, a cartoonist for The New Yorker and Dark Horse. Workshops will feature editing and design tips. Authors will be able to sign up to pitch story ideas to publishers and agents. Vendors will provide their own personal insight into the publishing world, as well as food and drinks, and attendees will have the chance to participate in a raffle filled with fun, local prizes.”

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