Mingling with more than 9,500 other writers at the sold-out Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference on Chicago's Lakeshore Drive is an experience to remember (not to mention bouncing from table to table at the enormous bookfair like a kid in a candy store, discovering quirky literary journals you never even knew existed).
Despite the overwhelming size and scope of the event, somehow it was hard not to keep bumping into Alaskans - including several Alaskans who held book-signings during the exhausting but energizing three days of literary fare. Debby Dahl Edwardson, featured in Andromeda's blog this week, was there to promote her hard-to-find-in-Alaska book, My Name is Not Easy. Melinda Moustakis, one of our past instructors, signed copies of Bear Down, Bear North, her collection of Alaska short stories. Nicole Stellon O'Donnell from Fairbanks was there for the debut of Steam Laundry, her "novel in poems." John Morgan, a recent guest blogger, signed copies of his new collection of essays, Forms of Feeling: Poetry in Our Lives. University of Alaska Press launched its new Alaska Literary Series, including The Cormorant Hunter's Wife by poet Joan Kane.
Our own Peggy Shumaker, Alaska State Writer Laureate, presented on a panel entitled "Poet & Polis: Four State laureates Speak about their Public Role." David Stevenson, director of the UAA Creative Writing & Literary Arts program, participated in off-site reading. And that's not all...but alas it's impossible to be in several places at once. Suffice it to say the experience was both energizing and exhausting, and that we can't wait to for next year's conference in Boston. More on AWP to follow. Meanwhile, you can check out the excellent AWP blog posts at the Brevity blog. The conference was not without controversy - go to the Brevity blog for Ned Stuckey-French's "Dear John" letter to John D'Agata, which he read at one of the final panels, "The Lyric Essay: A Collapse of Forms or a Form of Collapse?" Is it character assassination, as one audience member charged, or a reasoned response to messing with the facts in creative nonfiction? Join the debate.
49 Writers' recent Crosscurrents event featuring Eowyn Ivey and Andromeda Romano-Lax will air on "Addressing Alaskans" on KSKA, Anchorage 91.1 FM, on Thursday, March 22, 2pm and 7pm.
Today, Friday March 9, and tomorrow, Saturday March 10, 8am start, the Department of English graduate students of UAA present the 17th Annual Pacific Rim Conference on Literature and Rhetoric, dedicated to examining the implications of multimodality for the way we think, read, write and learn. Guest speakers are Dr. Brian Greenspan and Dr. Cheryl Ball. Administration Building, off Alumni Drive, Anchorage.
Tonight, Friday March 9, 7pm, the Midnight Sun Visiting Writer Series will feature poet and writer Sarah Gorham. Wood Center Ballroom, UAF.
Tomorrow, Saturday March 10, 10am, the Writers' Critique Group will meet at Title Wave Books. Open to any type of writing or genre; all levels welcome. Call Mary at (907) 569 5075 for more information.
Tomorrow, Saturday March 10, 7pm, Fairbanks Arts Association's Literary Reading Series will feature the winners of the 18th Annual Statewide Poetry Contest, including Finn Mackinaw, Canon Cogan, Mei Flory, Chaya Pike, Simon Langham, Shelly Jackson, Ela Harrison Gordon, and Monica Devine.
Next Friday, March 16, 6.30pm, William Kamkwamba will speak at the Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library, 3600 Denali St, Anchorage. Kamkwamba's story is told in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, learned to build a windmill to provide power for lights and a water pump from a library book in his Malawi village.
Presenters sought by April 6 for Oct. 5-7 "Writers on the Sound" in Edmonds WA (200 max participants.) There is an honorarium (2011: $134 for 75-minute, $161 for 90-minute workshops), and a stipend is available to those traveling more than 100 miles. Please submit a current resume, including other courses/lectures you have given and where; 2 or 3 references; and a description of one or more classes you would like to teach (75 or 90 Min). The flyer for this Call for Presenters is at this link. If you are interested in presenting at the event, please send email to email@example.com or write to WOTS Presenters, 700 Main St, Edmonds, WA 98020, or call 425 771 0228. Possibility of accommodation for one in private home.
Radical Arts for Women (RAW) sponsors a short story contest open to all women living in Alaska. The contest is named for Nicole Blizzard, a local lesbian writer and editor who passed away in December 2009, the author of Love and Other Mishaps: An Accidental Anthology and editor of the local LGBT literary journal "Naked Ptarmigan."
-Email the short story to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm, April 1 as a Word or .rtf document.
-Include in body of email the author's name, address, phone number, email, story title, and word count.
-The short story must be 250-5,000 words and contain some lesbian content. Do not put the author's name on the story; include the author's name in the body of the email with the story title. Erotica is acceptable. Unpublished submissions only.
-The author must be a woman living in AK as of February 2012.
--Winner receives $500 and the winning short story will appear on www.radicalartsforwomen.org Second place receives $300 and third place $100; honorable mentions at the judges' discretion.
-Radical Arts for Women may publish winning entries (including honorable mentions) in a printed and electronic book collection. Submission to the contest gives Radical Arts for Women First North American Serial rights and electronic rights for this publication. Authors retain all other rights. If you do not wish your story to be included in the publication, let them know in your submission email.
-Winners to be announced at Celebration of Change, April 21 2012 and posted on radicalartsforwomen.org
F Magazine's Second Annual Statewide Writing Competition is underway. Digital deadline May 15, 2012; postal deadline May 1, 2012. Open to all poets and writers, published or not, residing anywhere in Alaska. Full details on their website.
Registration is filling fast for this year's Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference, to be held June 8-12 at Lands' End Resort in Homer, featuring keynote speaker Barry Lopez. Full details on the website.
Ann Dixon's essay, "From Touchstones to Touchscreens: the Evolution of a Book Lover" has been published and can be read in the current edition (March/April) of "The Horn Book," the premier publication dealing with Children's Lit. in the US, as part of a special issue on digital media and children's publishing.
Local author Bill Streever's review of "Londoners" by Craig Taylor appears in last Sunday's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. Read it online here.
Congratulations to Fairbanks writer Sue Ann Bowling. Her book Tourist Trap won both first place in Science Fiction and best fiction book of the year in the Reader Views awards. Click here for the full list