Friday, April 27, 2012

Ela: 49 Writers Weekly Round-up

Thank you to the twenty-five wonderful writers and readers who joined us at our inaugural reading and craft talk at Great Harvest Bread Company on Tuesday, on what turned out the be the perfect spring evening. Writer Mary Albanese read from her memoir, Midnight Sun, Arctic Moon, and  entertained and informed us with her story of writing the book about her adventures as as geologist in the 1970s Alaska. Mary later expressed appreciation for the opportunity to talk about her craft. Thanks also go to Barbara Hood, our gracious hostess, who not only provided a beautiful venue but also plied us with delicious cookies. We are also indebted to Lucian Childs and Lorena Knapp, the volunteers who organize our popular reading and craft talk series.
Mary Albanese at Great Harvest Bread
Call for proposals for the 49 Writers fall workshop season! We are now accepting proposals for our workshops that begin in September and run through November. While our course offerings are flexible, they generally fall into one of three categories: Elements courses that are generally 6 to 8 hours long; genre-based workshops that typically run 12 to 15 hours; and special topics that are typically covered in a single session of 2 or 3 hours. In Anchorage, we’re likely to schedule two in each category per term, leaving room to add an impromptu course or two with visiting writers if opportunities arise. Click here for more information about how to submit a proposal. Deadline for fall proposals is June 1, 2012.

Yes – it’s not too late to donate to this year’s Write-a-thon! The online fundraising pages remain open, and donations are still coming in. We have, in fact, raised an additional $740 since the event took place on April 13, and the grand total currently stands at $7,673. The website will accept donations for three months after the event.

Congratulations to Aryeh Lax from Stellar Secondary School in Anchorage, the 2012 Poetry Out Loud Alaska State Champion. From a competitive field of more than 5,400 students across the state, Aryeh received the title at the state finals held in the Juneau Arts & Culture Center in Juneau. The first runner-up was Chaya Pike from Sitka High School in Sitka, Alaska. Aryeh’s final recitation was The End of Science Fiction, a free form poem by Lisel Mueller commenting on contemporary life. He says, "Poetry Out Loud is an all-out incredible event. The chance to absolutely immerse myself in these poems--to get inside them, and then try to communicate that connection to an audience—is challenging, enlightening, and transformative. I love that there's this kind of opportunity out there for teens.”

We have now completed our final review of this semester’s Writers in the Schools program, and are happy to conclude that elementary students, teachers, and visiting authors alike enjoyed a most positive experience. Many students loved the engagement with real writers and writing their own stories, and were sorry when the time came for our authors to leave. Teachers were happy to see the enthusiasm their students showed for writing, and appreciated the new insights and ideas. Our instructors reported that they loved the energy and interest of the young writers, and would gladly do this again. Thank you to the principals and teachers at Kasuun Elementary, Rogers Park Elementary, Sand Lake Elementary, Susitna Elementary, and Turnagain Elementary, who welcomed us into their schools.

Special appreciation goes to our writing instructors: Teeka Ballas, Kelsea Habecker, Carol Loftfield, Stefanie Tatalias, Deb Vanasse, and Megan Applegate. Thanks must also go to the instructors who conducted four professional development workshops for Anchorage School District teachers: Hannah Moderow, Marybeth Holleman, Cynthia Monroe, Stefanie Tatalias, and Kelsea Habecker.

Tonight, Friday April 27, 7pm, Gulliver’s Books presents Nicole Stellon O’Donnell, author of Steam Laundry.

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 28, former Homer News reporter and 49 Writers regular AndromedaRomano-Lax will give two free workshops and a lecture and reading in Homer. 
Andromeda (at left) with Homer writers Nancy Lord, Teresa Sundmark,
Eva Saulitis, Ela Harrison Gordon, Miranda Weiss
At 5pm, at Bunnell St Arts Center, she will talk about Art as Propaganda and her newest novel, The Detour, set in 1938 Italy. Earlier in the day, she will give workshops at the Library, open to all writers of all levels. The 10am workshop will explore “Memory as Muse,” including its unreliability, and will include discussions and short exercises. The 11am workshop, “Reading Like a Writer,” addresses the way a serious writer reads, including note-taking, analysis, reverse-engineering, reading with specific craft issues in mind, keeping logs. Visit Andromeda’s website for more about her latest books. 

Also tonight at 6:30 pm, Deb Vanasse will join writers in Nenana for an informal workshop/discussion on writing at the Nenana Community Library. A big thanks to the Alaska State Library for funding this visit as part of a "Sharing Our Stories" grant, and to Martha Tomeo and Amanda Austin of Tri-Valley for securing the funding and also hosting a workshop last night with Deb at the Tri-Valley Community Library.

Also Saturday April 28, 10am, a writers critique group will meet at Title Wave Books, Northern Lights Mall, Anchorage. All genres and levels welcome. For more information, contact Mary at (907) 569 5075.

Also Saturday, April 28, 2pm, the Fairbanks Arts Association is sponsoring Poetry at the Dredge. Chatanika Dredge, Mile 29 Steese Highway. This year’s theme, Interior Poets, highlights and recognizes the work of some of the best-known poets of the Interior, including Cindy Hardy, John Morgan, Amber Flora Thomas, and Peggy Shumaker. Bring poetry, warm clothes, water, a sack lunch, a cushion or blanket. 
Call Anna at (907) 456 6485 ext. 226 for more information.

Also Saturday, April 28, 2pm, Fireside Books in Palmer presents romance writer Jackie Ivie at 2pm, and their own Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child, at 4pm. 720 S. Alaska St, Palmer.

On Sunday, April 29, 1pm, Hearthside Books presents Sara Isto and The Fur Farms of Alaska. Nugget Mall, 8745 Glacier Hwy, Juneau.

Also Sunday, April 29, 7pm, Janee Baugher will give a reading at Yaw Chapel, Sheldon Jackson Campus, Sitka.

Next Friday, May 4, 7pm, the Alaska Quarterly Review’s First Friday series will be hosted by Jitters CafĂ© (11401 Old Glenn Highway, Eagle River). Featured musical guests will be vocalist Marian Call, accompanied by Seth Boyer. There will also be readings from AQR’s award-winning 30th anniversary Spring/Summer 2012 edition.

The postal deadline for F Magazine’s Second Annual Poetry Competition is coming up on May 1st (electronic deadline is May 15). Competition is open to all Alaskan writers. Get the full details on their website.

Up Here Magazine is accepting entries to their Second Annual Robert Service Poetry Contest. Send a rollicking, rhyming poem about Canada’s North, capturing the spirit of Robert Service. Poems must be 500 words or fewer, be original and unpublished, and must be received by July 1, 2012. Send a maximum of three poems, together with contact information. Winning poems will be published in a special issue of Up Here; winner gets $750, runner-up, $250. For more information, visit or contact the editor, Aaron Spitzer at

For your amusement, Rich Chiappone shares this blog post on overcorrection of grammatical errors

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