What a week. Bitter cold. Raging winds. Rain, sleet, snow. Now they're talking record highs for Anchorage, with schools closed for the third straight day due to icy roads. The Joe Mcginness title is an apt fit for Alaska in January, when we always seem to get battered by extremes. At least we've got great book and writing functions to ease the pain.
The 49 writers book club selection poll (right) closes on Saturday, January 17, so remember to vote if you haven't already. And remember also that we've got open season on book nominations for our Northern Favorites shelf (also at right) until February 14. Just leave a comment or use the "contact us" link in the sidebar.
Out on book tour, Willie Hensley has missed some of Alaska's weather-related fun. He's in Washington DC today and tomorrow, then back in Anchorage on Thursday, January 22 at 7 p.m. at Title Wave Books. From there he'll be in Ketchikan on Wednesday, January 28 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. and at the Hangar Ballroom in Juneau on Thursday, January 29 at 7 p.m. Then it's back on Anchorage on February 6 (7 p.m., UAA Bookstore) and Thursday, February 12 (7 p.m., Anchorage Museum). For details, visit http://us.macmillan.com/Tour.aspx?id=246.
Critically acclaimed Fairbanks author David Marusek's new book, Mind over Ship, comes out on January 20. On Saturday, January 31 from 2-4 p.m., Marusek is doing a book launch at Gulliver's in Fairbanks, and on Saturday, February 7, he's reading at 6 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, also in Fairbanks.
The Alaska Writer's Guild holds their monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 20 at Barnes and Noble in Anchorage. Featured speaker Sherry Simpson will also be signing books from 6-7 p.m. A representative from the Rasmuson Foundation will make a short presentation on their grant program from 7-7:15 p.m. Meetings are free for members (membership is $60 per year, see their website for details. Also at the meeting, the Bi-Monthly Contest winner of Children and Teens will be announced and presented with a $50 Prize courtesy of Ken Jelinek. The genre for the Guild's March Bi-Monthly Contest is horror. Deadline for submission is March 5; only members may submit.
Remember that on January 21 at 6 p.m., the Rasmuson Foundation will host a teleconference for artists interested in learning more about the Foundation’s Individual Artist and Project Awards. Foundation staff will provide information about the grants, which are awarded directly to writers, and answer questions about eligibility, the application process, supporting materials, timeline, the selection process, and other questions brought forward by participants. The phone number is 888-896-0862.
Even with our big thaw, the Freeze Project is going strong. Remember that on January 31 Mr. Whitekeys will host literary readings from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Anchorage Museum.
Another reminder: February 5 is the deadline for the annual writing/broadcasting/video/photo contest from Alaska Professional Communicators (formerly Alaska Press Women). Entry fees are $20 per entry for members, $30 for nonmembers. For details, visit http://www.akprocom.org/commcontests.php
Speaking of the Alaska Professional Communicators, author Michael Engelhard will be the featured speaker at their luncheon at the Golden Lion Best Western in Anchorage on March 5. The topic is The Pleasures and Pains of Anthologizing. Michael will read a piece and introduce two new anthologies, and there'll be a Q & A.
Looking ahead, the Sitka Symposium is scheduled for June 25-28 in Sitka. Aiming to put both written and oral traditions to the service of ideas, this year's symposium features authors Gary Holthaus, Robin Kimmerer, and Gary Snyder.
It should be a great conference. Although by then the weather won't be nearly as interesting.