It's the good work of our volunteers that allows us to provide so many opportunities for Alaska's writers. Featured here is Hillary Walker, whose energy and enthusiasm is perfect for our WYAK Write Young Alaska effort. If you'd like to help out at 49 Writers, visit www.49writingcenter.org / Get Involved / Volunteer. We can especially use help with our flyer blitz team (four or five locations, four or five times a year), with cleaning (twice a month, five months a year), and with our online calendar.
Tell us a little about yourself, including your day job and what you do as a volunteer for 49 writers.
I was born and raised in Anchorage, and I finished studying English and astrophysics at Caltech and Williams College. Now I’m taking a year off before beginning my PhD in English Literature. Hopefully this year will be filled with substitute teaching, ukulele playing, breakfast dates, and plenty of reading and writing. I’m also learning German (for grad school) and working in a little clothing boutique.
Most of my work for 49 Writers is devoted to WYAK: Write Young Alaska, our new youth outreach effort. I’ll be leading a youth writing group at Teen Underground at the Loussac Library beginning later this fall.
Why did you decide to volunteer at the 49 Writing Center?
I had just graduated from college, and I didn’t really know what to do with myself for a little while. Then I saw a poster for the 49 Writing Center at Kaladi Brothers, and I never looked back. Seriously, it was love at first sight.
What’s a highlight of your involvement so far?
WYAK had a booth at the Spenard Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago to spread the word. I hung out there with two teens from our WYAK advisory council—we had an incredible time.
Tell us something about your literary interests and activities.
I mostly write short, experimental fiction, and I published my first story this spring. I’m also really interested in literary and cultural theory, so I do lots of critical work, too.
What’s the last great book you read?
I just finished reading The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Now I’m in the middle of rereading The Lover by Marguerite Duras, which is probably the book that turned me into a writer.
When you picture our writing center ten years from now, what do you imagine?
I see such good things! One of the best parts of the 49 Alaska Writing Center is the opportunity to meet other Alaskan writers, so I would love if we had a permanent physical space where people could gather, socialize, and share their work.