Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Eric Larson: Anchorage Neighborhood Writing Project (and a free writing workshop!)

The city has stories.

These stories – your stories – are Anchorage lore, and we'd like to hear your voice.  The Anchorage Neighborhood Writing Project welcomes you to its first free writing workshop on urban writing.  The class will be interactive, with discussions, exercises, writing prompts, and suggestions to encourage participants to draw inspiration from their everyday lives and write about living in Anchorage

Join us at 9:00 am on Friday, November 8 at the UAA Student Center Den for a breakfast panel about Mountain View, including a literary reading by Mary Kudenov.  The writing workshop will start at 10:30 am and continue until 2:00 pm.  We’ll break in the middle for lunch.  Bring paper, something to write with, a bag lunch, and stories to share. 

The Wolf Den is located on the first floor of the UAA Student Union Building on Providence Drive (same building as the UAA Bookstore, next to the Sports Center).  Parking is free on Fridays.  For questions or more information, contact Bree Kessler at bckessler (at) uaa.alaska.edu.  The Urban Writing Workshop and Mountain View panel are free and open to anyone in the community with a story to tell.

Three of us will teach the workshop: Bree Kessler, Mary Kudenov, and Eric Larson.  Bree Kessler is an assistant professor of health sciences and research fellow at the Center for Community Engagement and Learning at UAA.  Her research is in the field of environmental psychology: the study of how the built environment shapes and also is influenced by human behavior.  She has a particular interest in "winter cities."  Bree was born and raised in Detroit – a city that inspired her to fall in love with "the urban."  She is the author of the travel guidebook Moon: Big Island of Hawaii

Mary Kudenov studies nonfiction in University of Alaska Anchorage’s low-residency MFA program.  Currently, she’s writing a collection of linked essays that explore life in urban Alaska.  Mary has worked in Anchorage’s non-profit community, taught writing in Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, and served Alaska’s literary arts community as the 2013 Alaska Book Week coordinator.  She is interested in city narratives that address issues of economic disparity, addiction, and social change.  (Check out Mary’s latest urban essay, “A Man of Fashion” in the fall 2013 issue of Alaska Quarterly Review.)

Eric Larson has lived and walked in Anchorage for the past twenty-five years without owning a car.  He earned his MFA at the UAA Creative Writing program where he studied the literature of urban walking.  Eric experiments with different ways of exploring the city on foot – such as deep mapping, ground-truthing, psychogeography, and GPS drawing.  He’s writing a book about walking in Anchorage.

The Urban Writing Workshop is the first effort of the Anchorage Neighborhood Writing Project (ANWP).  The Project will host future events featuring guests who have explored their neighborhood through writing and others who have unique knowledge of the city.  Future workshops will focus on methods of exploring, learning, and writing about the city.  The ongoing mission of ANWP is to inspire and encourage city residents to write and discuss their urban stories.

We are looking for collaborators across mediums to build a compendium of Anchorage lore.  We are looking for writing, photography, mapping, drawing, painting, and other modes of art.  The long-term goal of ANWP is to combine writing and other media into a community atlas that tells the stories of how we live in Anchorage

The reading, panel discussion, and writing workshop on November 8 are all part of ENGAGE Week: Urban in Alaska sponsored by the UAA Center for Community Engagement and Learning (CCEL).  This year the Center is focusing on the "Urban in Alaska," specifically Anchorage neighborhoods, to understand the many ways citizens engage with their communities.

ENGAGE Week 2013 (from November 4 through 10) features dialogues, panels, workshops, and outdoor events that highlight the strengths and challenges of the "Urban in Alaska."  Feel free to attend as many activities as possible.  These events are all free and open to the public.

Please sign-up for the November 8 workshop at the ENGAGE Week website.  Sign-up is not required, but it will assist with planning.  After you sign-up, you will receive updates and materials for the workshop.

1 comment:

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

Congrats Eric, Mary, and Bree. What a great project. I've always wished to read more written from the urban side of Alaska, since it's as big a part of our lives as the wilderness side. Always exciting to see the initiatives launched by AK writers.