Friday, October 9, 2015

Weekly Roundup of Writing Opportunities for October 9

There are still a few In Person and Online Workshops organized by 49 Writers that you can sign up. Check out the details and register at the 49 Writers website

November 3 from 7-10pm
Location: 161 E. 1st Ave., Door 15 (Alaska Humanities Forum) Register here!
All genres

Price: $45 member/$55 non-member
November 10, 12, 17, and 19 from 7:00-9:30pm
Location: 161 E. 1st Ave., Door 15 (Alaska Humanities Forum)
Price: $150 member/$170 non-member. Register here!
All genres

The following classes are asynchronous: there are no scheduled meeting times but there will be weekly assignments and expectations, and everyone will complete the work on their own time. Interaction will utilize text-based formats such as discussion boards.

November 4 and 11 from 7:00-8:30pm (3 hours total)
Price: $45 members/ $55 nonmembers. Register here

November 2 to November 22
9+ hours over 3 Weeks
Online. No scheduled meetings, asynchronous instruction
Price: $150 member/$165 non-member. Register here
Genres: Fiction/Nonfiction

Alaska Book Week will soon be upon us scheduled for Oct. 3 -11. We would like to invite everyone to sign up by clicking the participation form on the right side of the website at Once you submit your form, the coordinator will be in contact with you soon. This year, we are making more of an effort to create lists of Alaskan authors and possible venues so that we can expand on our yearly celebration--and provide more representation for authors and their wonderful books!
We would also like to remind Alaska Book Week participants that we are incorporating a YouTube campaign into our yearly celebration.
For questions or comments, please contact the Alaska Book Week coordinator at We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Alaska Women Speak is searching for a volunteer interested in serving as the new layout editor! The position requires a familiarity with Adobe InDesign.  If this might be you, please contact:
49 Writers Volunteer Seta


Annual Great Alaska Book Fair, sponsored in part by The Mall at Sears and Anchorage Public Library, will be hosted by Publication Consultants, in association with Alaska Book Week, Saturday October 10, from 10 AM to 6 PM. Tables will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. Authors are responsible for their own sales. There will not be a central check out register. There is a charge of $50 per table, which authors may share if they'd like. The book fair is held the same day the mall is featuring their annual sidewalk sale. High traffic is expected.
For questions or to sign up please go to

Renowned poet and scholar Bob Holman will begin the fall season on October 15 at 7pm at the Great Harvest Bread Company with Bob Holman Answers All Your Questions About Orality, Endangered Languages, and the Mediaization of Poetry...   

Events at the UAA Bookstore

Saturday, October 10 from 1:00pm-3:00pm at the UAA/APU Consortium Library, room 307
Lithuanian Poet Judita Vaiciunaite, with Svaja Worthington and Leslie Fried
The art, life, and times of Lithuanian Poet Judita Vaiciunaite (1937-2001) with be highlighted at this event with Svaja Worthington and Leslie Fried. Leslie Fried is the curator of the Alaska Jewish Museum in Anchorage. Her poems have appeared in Cirque Literary Journal. Svaja Vansauskas Worthington called Alaska home for the past 40 years. In 2013, she was named the Honorary Consul from the State of Alaska to the Republic of Lithuania. Her translations of 2 poems by Judita Vaiciunaite appeared in Cirque Literary Journal Vol. 6, no. 2.

This event is sponsored by the UAA Campus Bookstore and is held at UAA/APU Consortium Library, in room 307. There is free parking at UAA on Saturdays. 

Monday, October 12 at  6:30 PM at UAA Wendy Williamson Auditorium (Lake Otis & Providence Drive)
Beyond Limits Community Tour with Bonner Paddock, author of One More Step. The Arc of Anchorage is proud to present Bonner Paddock ­–the first person with Cerebral Palsy to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and complete the IRONMAN Kona challenge in Hawaii, unassisted. The event is FREE and open to the public! This event, with book signing, is sponsored by  OM Foundation, Young’s Market Company and The Arc of Anchorage, UAA Campus Bookstore.  Event parking is FREE in the West Lot (directly across the auditorium building.  For more information, contact Lisa Noland at or 646-5710.

Tuesday,  October 13 from 1:00pm-2:00pm at the UAA Engineering and Industry Building, Express Café, 2nd floor
Tea and Conversation with Katherine Donahue author of  Steaming to the North: The First Summer Cruise of the US Revenue Cutter Bear, Alaska and Chukotka, Siberia , 1886
Come welcome guest speaker, author and anthropologist Katherine Donohue at this informal gathering

Tuesday, October 13 from 5:00pm-7:00pm at the UAA/ APU Consortium Library, room 307.
Author Katherine Donahue presents Steaming to the North: The First Summer Cruise of the US Revenue Cutter Bear, Alaska and Chukotka, Siberia , 1886
The life of Alaska Natives, whalemen, and photographs of the last sail-and-steam whaling ship, the Bear, are highlighted at this event. Katherine Donahue is professor of Anthropology at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Steaming to the North is published by University of Alaska Press.

Free parking for this event in the Library Lot, Library NE Lot , and the East Garage.

Saturday, October 17 from 1:00pm-3:00pm at the UAA/APU Consortium Library, room 307
Professor Sudarsan Rangarajan presents  French Poets from A Gray Barn Rising. At this event, French poets from A Gray Barn Rising—including Francis Ponge and  Robert Desnos –will be highlighted with Sudarsan Rangarajan.  Sudarsan Rangarajan is professor of French and Coordinator of the French Program Department of Languages at UAA.  His areas of interest include twentieth century French and Québécois literatures, and critical theory. His book, Critical Essays on Michel Butor's L'Emploi du Temps, was published by Peter Lang in 2012.
There is free parking at UAA on Saturdays.

All UAA Campus Bookstore events are informal, free and open to the public. UAA Campus Bookstore podcasts are posted in iTunes or iTunes U –just search UAA or UAA Campus Bookstore.    

Local Library Events
Book Signings


The next installation of The Living Room: Stories for Grownups, will be held Friday, Oct. 9 in the back room at Jitters coffee house in Eagle River. You will hear stories and poems from people in the community who love all things literary. The program starts at 7 pm and is free, with refreshments served afterwards. Come mingle with other writers and readers. See our Facebook page at: The Living Room. Sign up to read or just come and listen. For more info, call Monica Devine at 444-4633

Read Local: An Alaska Book Week Celebration
With local authors Ernestine Hayes, Carrie Enge, Aleria Jensen and a special announcement by Alaska Writer Laureate, Frank Soos.
October 10th, 7pm  at Coppa (917 Glacier Ave)
·         A reception for Ernestine Hayes, author Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir the 2015-16 UAS One Campus, One Book selection.
·         Author readings by Ernestine Hayes (Blonde Indian), Carrie Enge (Crab Bait), Aleria Jensen (“A Soldier’s Station”, 2015 Poems in Place Selection) and Joan Kane* (Cormorant Hunter’s Wife, Hyperboreal)
·         Special announcement by Alaska Writer Laureate- Frank Soos, of the title of the book for the upcoming statewide reading program, Alaska Reads.
·         Coffee, ice-cream and pastries available for purchase.
·         Sponsored by UAS One Campus One Book, 49 Writers, Alaska Center for the Book, Alaska State Library, Anchorage Public Library, the Alaska Quarterly Review. 
* Kane and Soos will participate via Google Hangouts.
For more information visit

Looking for a writer in Juneau who could commit to cover 2-3 days each week (Monday-Friday) from 4-5:30pm during November’s NaNoWriMo to help give kids time to write, support and maybe even give some motivation and ideas. The writer will partner with Jennifer Walker who will be covering the other 2-3 days each week. To meet and plan, please contact her at

The blog/website is seeking fiction and non-fiction submissions to publish as blog postings, newsletter items, and possibly in other venues such as an electronic compilation of items from the website. All interested writers are strongly advised to review the website in detail to get a feel for website which focuses on issues of concern to Alaskans in their 50s and older. We are interested in:
    short stories
    book reviews
Here are a few details and caveats.
    We are volunteers, so we cannot pay for submissions. Ask again when we are rich and famous :-)
    Subject matter must broadly fit the theme "aging in Alaska" involving and/or clearly targeting persons in their 50s and older.
    Submit whatever mix and number of items you want, but they must not total more than 1,000 words. 
    Do not submit anything else until we invite you in writing to do so.
    Submissions may have been published elsewhere (please indicate where), but you must indicate truthfully that you have all relevant rights to publish the article. We may ask for documentation.
    Please include a short, one paragraph bio, and a digital photo of yourself that we will post with your work.
    Please send submissions to:  and expect a response within weeks.

360 North will start the 2015-16 season of Writers’ Showcase. All Alaska writers are invited to submit fiction and nonfiction pieces. Stories are read before a live studio audience by professional actors, and later broadcast throughout Alaska on statewide public TV and radio. Stories should be about 10 minutes long when read aloud. Profanity will need to be edited for broadcast.
October 15, 2015                                November 13, 2015
January 18, 2016                                February 25, 2016
April 25, 2016                                    June 2, 2016
Submit to arts [at] ktoo [dot] org.
For questions contact Scott Burton
Arts, Culture and Music Producer at 907.463.6473
The 2016 Governor's Awards ceremony will be held in Juneau on Thursday, January 28th. We will also continue the tradition of scheduling CHAMP Day (Culture, Humanities, Arts & Museums Partners), a legislative fly-in day, on Wednesday, January 27th. Please start brainstorming ideas for nominees and consider submitting a nomination! The nomination process will open in August. This year's Arts categories will be: Margaret Nick Cooke Award for Alaska Native Arts & Languages, Business Leadership, Arts Advocacy and Individual Artist. A list of previous awardees can be found at

2016 Statewide Arts and Culture Conference will take place in Anchorage, Thursday, April 28th through Saturday, April 30th. We are in the process of exploring compelling themes, topics and national speakers for the convening. Like our last conference, we will be engaging Alaskan artists in the planning and production of the event. Be on the lookout for the opportunity to apply to be a conference Partner Artist, which will open in the fall. If you have any ideas to share with us, please send them our way by emailing

Poetry Out Loud registration deadline for schools is October 15, 2015Click here to hear from the 2015 National Poetry Out Loud Champion from Alaska, Maeva Ordaz. 

13 Chairs Literary Journal, a new literary journal publishing short stories and poetry from new and emerging authors, seeks submissions and volunteers. They are currently composing their flagship issue, straight out of JBER, AK. To learn more, and to submit, email or visit

Alaska Women Speak is now accepting submissions for the Winter 2015 issue.  The upcoming theme is "Talking over Coffee (or Tea)."  Submissions are due November 15th.

Write to Publish, in partnership with the Timberline Review and Cirque, offer a flash fiction contest and a Pacific Northwest poetry contest this year. Submissions open September 8 and close October 30, 2015. Entries for the Pacific Northwest poetry contest may be original, unpublished works up to 40 lines and should be centered on a Pacific Northwest theme. Entries for the flash fiction contest must be 700 words or fewer, original, unpublished, and double spaced. Winners will be notified the first week of December and will win a cash prize of $100, a reading at the conference and publication in Timberline Review for poetry and Cirque for flash fiction.
The contest fee is $10, and only one story or poem may be submitted per person, per contest. Please send submissions via email to with “Flash Fiction Contest Submission” or "PNW Poetry Contest Submission” as the subject line.
For more detailed information about the contests, the conference, or to purchase tickets, visit

Alderworks Alaska Writers and Artists Retreat will be accepting residency applications November 15, 2015 - January15, 2016. For more information visit

The Alaska Quarterly Review will publish Sparks: A Conversation in Poems and Paintings in its entirety in the May 2016 issue. You can see, in order, each of Peggy Shumaker's poems and each of Kesler Woodward's paintings from their year-long collaboration.  

Your Membership Counts!
Over 1,000 people receive these newsletters. Many of them are members of 49 Writers, knowing that their membership helps support all of the workshops, author tours, CrossCurrents events, readings, blog posts, and craft talks. Won't you join them by becoming a member? October is our annual membership and donation campaign; we hope you'll consider becoming an active part of the 49 Writers family.

Have news or events you'd like to see listed here? Email details to 49roundup (at) Your message must be received by noon on the Thursday before the roundup is scheduled to run. Unless your event falls in the "Opportunities" category, it should occur no more than 30 days from when we receive your email.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Deb: Making Change

Denali sunrise from my office window

We humans are strange creatures. We crave routine, and yet in many ways, we’re inspired by change. As writers, we can tease out our best work by playing to both aspects of our creative selves.

At the end of my Jumpstart Your Writing workshop, I ask students to write down what will be different as they move forward with their projects—what they’ll allow themselves, what they’ll remember, what actions they’ll take. Among their responses are this yin-and-yang—creating “mini-routines” that get them into writing mode and also making changes that energize their work.
Among the changes that can move your writing forward:

·         Break free of the linear: In our culture, we’re trained from a young age to think and work in linear ways, from beginning to middle to end. But especially in the early stages of a writing project, linear thinking inhibits creativity. There’s no reason to write straight through from beginning to end. Stuck in the middle? Jump ahead. Write key scenes from later in the piece. Write your ending. Then go back and fill in the rest.
·         Switch up the way you write: Writing will never be efficient, but with the advent of word processing, writers are able to work faster than ever. Still, typing has disadvantages. Handwriting jars us out of the keypad-to-screen rut. By putting pen to page, you can explore in more freewheeling ways. Visual activities such as mapping, illustrating, and webbing help you access the more creative parts of your brain.
·         See your work differently: When it’s time to revise—literally, to re-see your work—find ways to make it look different. Change the font. Load up the file on an e-reader. String a line across your work space and hang pages with clothespins. Spread pages out on the floor.
·         Acknowledge the reader’s desire for change: Part of what keeps readers turning the pages is their desire to vicariously experience change. Active readers enjoy anticipating how characters, setting, and event will activate changes in a protagonist. A helpful goal for a writer: By the end of each scene, at least one of the characters has experienced a change of mood, attitude, or direction. A slight change, perhaps, but a change.
·         Refresh yourself with new perspectives: Writing retreats and residencies aren’t just about getting away from it all. One reason so much good work happens there is that changes habits and scene nudges us to think and see in new ways. Travel is wonderful, but there are other ways to shake things up. Take a writing workshop. Join a writing group. Write in new places that are easily accessible from your home. Write in new places within your home. The bathtub? Sure. Just remember that water and laptops don’t play well together.

As I write this post, I’m in the midst of acting on this last point—packing up to leave Alaska after thirty-six years. It’s hard to leave the familiar, especially as wild and beautiful as Alaska, landscape on a scale that amazes no matter how long you’ve lived here. A place where the routine never feels routine, where even daily walks with the dog immerse you in natural wonder.

Alaska is also the place where I've grown into myself as a writer. It's where I've written all my published work (and a good amount that's unpublished). It's where I’ve enjoyed the generosity and warmth of the writing community, right here at 49 Writers. A place where I’ve even built something of a reputation, with one Library Journal reviewer kindly referring to me as “one of Alaska’s leading storytellers.”

Still, I’m excited about the new perspectives that come with relocating, a prospect I hadn’t entertained until a few months ago, when my husband suggested a move to the Oregon coast. Family and job prospects (his) are a huge draw, as is living within walking distance of the ocean. I’ll miss the Denali sunrises, viewed from my office window. I’ll miss the moose strolling through the yard. And I’ll miss seeing all of you in person.

But we’ll stay connected. For now, we’re keeping our Mat Glacier cabin. (No, not so we can continue to collect PFDs.) I’ll still be writing these posts. I plan to teach online workshops. And if you’re venturing Outside, in the vicinity of the Oregon coast, a few miles south of Astoria, you’ve got an open invitation to stop by for a visit.

Alaska has been good to me in more ways than I could ever name. And in some small way, I hope I’m leaving it a little better than I found it.

But change is good. I intend to make the most of it.

Co-founder of 49 Writers and founder of the independent authors cooperative Running Fox Books, Deb Vanasse has authored sixteen books. Her most recent are Write Your Best Book, a practical guide to writing books that rise above the rest; What Every Author Should Know, a comprehensive guide to book publishing and promotion; and Cold Spell, a novel that “captures the harsh beauty of the terrain as well as the strain of self-doubt and complicated family bonds,” according to Booklist. Her next book, Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold, comes out in April, 2016. A regular contributor to the IBPA Independent, her views here are her own.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ernestine Hayes: Writing in the Shadows

I write in shadows. I write in the shadows of women who if they were features of landscape would be the tallest mountains, the widest rivers, the deepest part of our literary oceans, while I cling to narrow shores. While I wade in ankle-deep shoals. While I bluster at barnacles.

I imagine myself swimming out beyond safety into the deepest waters. I find myself wishing I could reach those literary masters, but I’m afraid that I will drown before their human voices wake me.

I write in the shadows of men who whose words paint the wings of the brightest songbirds and echo the most lyrical rustlings of the forest. I haunt the near borders, listening, hoping one day to understand, to hear their message, to believe in what they say.

I aspire. It’s good to have models I know I will never approach. It’s good to read words that in a lifetime of work I could never have formed. It’s good to catch only a glimpse of ideas I know I will never be able to grasp. It’s good to take inspiration.

I read works of accomplished writers and I am struck by concepts I’ve never before encountered but which seem so tenderly familiar. Words that bring from me a surprised breath followed immediately by – of course!

Of course!

Someone is living my life. Someone knows my song. Someone casts a shadow as I sit here dreaming that I write. As I sit here wondering about a place called Saginaw Bay. A place called Flounder Hill. A place called We Also Cherish Words that Remind Us of Our Ancient Ones. A place called But This is the Way It’s Always Been Done.

Individually, we choose the works we value. Collectively, those choices too often become the overwhelming, dominant voice. When a majority of people take inspiration from words they find somehow familiar, words they find somehow comforting, words that lead them to exclaim Of Course!, we run the risk of finding ourselves in a dry, repetitive desert instead of our rich, wet forest. And when we look around and realize where we have come, perhaps we should find our uneasy way back to the forest and the ocean instead of making ourselves comfortable in privileged beds set high in a desert tower.

We are here to become one another: all my life I have been forced to study and practice how to become you, and all your life you have imagined me. We write in one another’s shadow.

I don’t aspire to conquer those high mountains so I can then write about my triumphs. I don’t aspire to forge those deep rivers so I can then write down my adventures. I don’t aspire to cross that deep ocean so I can then journal a record of my voyage. I aspire only to write in their shadows, and to nurture the plain hope that I might recall to a reader’s mind the fecund smell of a handful of earth, the numbing thrill of fast-moving water, the profound taste of grainy clam raked from the oozing beach. To Muir and his disciples I leave the panorama. I am content to write in the shadows.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Burning with Love

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that falling in love is the single most delicious kind of panic available to us as human beings. “Panic” not only because when you’re in love you’re in a constant state of “Holy smokes what shirt will I wear what’s going on how can I form a sentence?” (or, after a time, “How could I possibly get so lucky that this person understands me so deeply they don’t mind—they actually enjoy—when I sing depression dirges to the cat on Monday mornings; what would I ever do without them?”), but also because the feeling itself is so big and unstoppable that it extends well beyond our own mental hard drive capacity (kind of like picturing the size of the universe!), and when things feel this big, it’s a little overwhelming. In an awesome way.

If there’s anything that comes close to the excellent panic of love itself, it has to be the frantic need to consume and create art that follows love. Music sounds more incredible than ever before; faces appears in modern art paintings at the museum like one of those hidden image optical illusions; and words—be they in a sonnet or on a street sign—drip with meaning. 

From a writing perspective, love is at first incredibly useful. First of all, when you love someone, your brain turns into a superhuman love-words beast frothing at the mouth for a piece of paper to list and describe every last tiny detail about this emotion, this person, this experience. There’s just. So much. To say. Writing all of the feelings down, it seems, will preserve them, immortalize them for the ages (especially if you’re Shakespeare), and most importantly, give you a chance to process them in your limited-hard-drive brain, which always seems to turn to language first as a way of computing the un-computable.

And, if you’re lucky enough to be loved back mutually by the apple of your eye (more on clichés soon), your access to new and honest language material is unparalleled—in the safe harbor of this other human’s beautiful, safely familiar ears, you can truly be yourself and say whatever comes to your mind, no matter how nuts it is (for example, that cleaning out your inbox makes you feel like Sisyphus doomed to forever roll a boulder up a hill that inevitably comes crashing down only moments later. Not that I’ve said that to anyone I love recently). 

But at the same time, when you’re a writer and you’re in love, you’re always wearing this hyper-critical, panicky, Kurt Vonnegut “kill your babies” self-revision hat. “Did I just sound like a total idiot?” you ask yourself after talking to the person you love, questioning each word that poured out of your idiot mouth into their beautiful ears. Then there are the added self-critical layers of clichés and sentimentality. We want to use the clichés—after all, they’re cliché for a reason, namely that they feel accurate—but we know as artists that we shouldn’t. We know we shouldn’t use the words “heart,” “rose,” “soul,” or “lips” in the poem, because Shakespeare already did that 500 years ago so it’s old news now. We know we shouldn’t gush on and on about “love at first sight” or “butterflies in the stomach” because those have been used a million times before and they’re trite. And yet…

It’s these dual impulses—to say and to not say, to gush and to self-efface, to generate and to look back in panicked horror at how over-the-top everything you just generated is—that writers face each time they tackle the subject of love. And it’s these dual impulses that I’m most interested in. How can we keep writing about love—the single most timeless emotion on the planet—in new ways? How can words achieve this impossible goal?  

My point here is this: love is a powerful, potent, radioactive spider that, if it’s bit you, can turn your writing into the most brilliant, charged, surprising work you’ve ever produced OR the most melodramatic, cliché, overly sentimental drivel you’ve ever produced. How on earth can we harness this feeling into the former while avoiding the latter at all costs? As a poet who primarily writes love poems, I often think that this question is my life’s work. And I want to explore this question—and offer you my take on it so far—in the one-day “Burning with Love” craft workshop through 49 Writers. 

The Greeks were smart enough to invent names (eros, agape, philia, and storge) for all the different types of love we experience with all the many different people we meet in our lifetimes. Sappho put it even simpler: “you burn me.” Join me in the “Burning with Love” class for tips on how to write about all these types of love without making yourself blush (except the good kinds of blushing), without treading into cliché waters, and without worrying that you sound like a total idiot (except the good kind). Harness the power of the radioactive panic spider! Tame him and make him your emissary—or better yet, your muse. 

~Alyse Knorr

Alyse will be teaching a workshop BURNING WITH LOVE: HOW TO WRITE ABOUT LOVE WITHOUT BLUSHING on November 3 from 7-10pm. Register here!

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Writer's Apprenticeship

One of the first things I ask writers is who are you reading? I ask this because I’m always looking for new authors and poets, and to be honest, I read so dang much that I’m often ready to start a new book. It puzzles me when someone who professes to be a writer admits that they don’t read. Reading and writing go hand and in hand in my book. I learn so much every evening when I cozy up on the sofa with a book, the pages opening me up to new ideas, new ways to express familiar ideas, new language, new forms, new structures.

Several years ago I started an apprenticeship that has been very fruitful to my writing. I began by pinpointing three authors that I’d found influential. I set out to read everything each of them had written. And then I read some literary criticism about their work and even some of each author’s letters if they were published. I was on a hunt to see who had been identified as their influences. Then I took that list and tried to read everything those authors had written. I looked for similarities - themes, syntax, diction. The I took another step down the family tree, who had influenced the authors who’d influenced the authors that influenced me? Well, you get the picture; I had plenty to read. And then when I’d reached some dead-ends, I started looking for my literary siblings. Who had been influenced by the same authors that had influenced me? What were they writing?

By following my writing lineage up and down the family tree, I learned about writers obscure and famous. I learned to read more critically the work of others and my own. I read older and more recent authors. It is a vast apprenticeship that hasn’t ended yet.

I encourage you to try it. You’ll learn a lot about how styles come and go, themes disappear and resurface, and how you are built as an author by everything around you. And you’ll read a lot. Stephen King wrote, “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” I tend to agree with him.

~Erin Coughlin Hollowell