Friday, June 5, 2009

49 writers weekly round-up

As you head off to the Book Festival and the Kachemak Bay Writers Conference and the Last Frontier Theater Conference next week, remember that we're looking for reports from attendees to share with our readers - maybe a wrap-up from a great session, inspiration imparted, or just your thoughts and musings. Send your contribution to lax@alaska.net.

Congratulations to UAA MFA student Scott Burton of Juneau, who was awarded three first-place prizes by the Alaska Press Club this spring for his stories on the Alaska Public Radio Network’s highly acclaimed show, “A-K.” Likewise, congrats to 2006 UAA MFA grad Keith Liles, whose poetry collection Spring Hunger has been published by Plain View Press out of Austin, Texas. Of Spring Hunger, Linda McCarriston says, “…Liles’ unruly intelligence makes us laugh, look again, rethink, and finally remember why poetry has a long, loved populist history in the U.S.”

How about this for fun? Poet Sandra Kleven, a UAA MFA candidate, not only read a set of poems with live jazz backup at the recent Spenard Jazz Festival, she also hand-wrote poems for $1 on the spot, on any subject. The best of her spontaneous poems were then read on the closing night of the festival. Klevin says she got the idea from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.

Speaking of the UAA MFA writing program, watch here for details on their free, open-to-the-public author readings during the Summer 2009 MFA writer’s residency July 11-23.

Also on July 11, Anchorage nature writer and author Bill Sherwonit will lead a writing workshop this summer, “Writing the Chugach.” Participants will join Bill on a day-long hike into the Chugach Mountains to learn more about both Anchorage’s “backyard wilderness” and the writing process, from observation to note-taking and journal keeping and finally to story. The cost is $100, which includes pre- and post-trip meetings, a day in the Chugach, and essay critique. To sign up for this workshop or for more information, contact Sherwonit at 245-0283 or akgriz@hotmail.com.

Fans of this month's featured writer Dana Stabenow have a chance to sound off about favorite character Kate Shugak by recording a one-minute video that might find its way into a professional YouTube production prior to the release of A Night Too Dark (February 2010). Stabenow techies should also note that all three Star Svensdotter novels and all four Liam Campbell novels are now available for download on iPhone and iTouch.

Alaska Dispatch announces a new design for their online magazine. They're still adding new features, but they'd love to get your feedback on how they can make the site even better. Alaska Dispatch has been around for about nine months now, experimenting with citizen journalism and the technical aspects of the site. They welcome contributions.

One of our favorite Alaskan librarians, Charlotte Glover of Ketchikan, reports that Sara Juday of Alaska Northwest Books recently sent a copy of Beyond Road's End: Living Free in Alaska by Janice Schofield Eaton, formerly of Alaska and now living in New Zealand. It's a narrative about Eaton's transition to Alaska from New Hampshire in the early 1980's with future husband Ed - homesteading, learning about local plants and, eventually, writing her now classic books "Discovering Wild Plants" and "Alaska's Wild Plants." Charlotte also reports that Nick Jans is self-publishing his latest book The Glacier Wolf: True Tales of Life in Southeast Alaska, coming out soon. Some of the essays are versions of ones he has published in Alaska magazine and some are new.

Looking for recognition? This year's Connie Boochever Fellowship, awarded to emerging Alaskan artists, will go to writers and performing artists. The deadline is September 1. For details, visit www.eed.state.ak.us/aksca.

Not to look too far past summer, but keep in mind that Publishers Weekly is inviting booksellers and publishers to participate in the first annual National Bookstore Day on Saturday, November 7, to stimulate in-person visits to retail bookstores. PW will provide marketing and publicity for the event, including promotional materials and online outreach.

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