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Next Alaska Center for the Book Board Meeting

To Be Announced

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Contributions to Literacy in Alaska Awards Announced

An Alaska Native language advocate, a longtime librarian, an elementary school publishing program, and a project to give free books to children in Alaska’s airports are winners of the 2017 Contributions to Literacy in Alaska (CLIA) Awards.
University of Alaska Southeast professor Lance Twitchell, newly retired Anchorage librarian Sherri Douglas, Muldoon Elementary School in Anchorage, and the statewide Read on the Fly program were chosen from nominations submitted from around the state. The CLIA awards have been presented annually since 1993 by Alaska Center for the Book, Alaska’s liaison with the Library of Congress Center for the Book.
The CLIAs honor people and programs that have made a significant contribution in literacy, the literary arts, or the preservation of the written or spoken word. Nearly 80 individuals and agencies have been recognized over the years, ranging from authors, publishers and booksellers, to teachers and teacher aides, historians and linguists, and more.

The 2017 CLIA winners will be recognized at a July 11 reception at Room 150 of the Arts Building on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. A dessert reception begins at 7:30 p.m., with the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. The awards will be followed by readings from authors Erin Coughlin Hollowell and Daryl Farmer, as part of the UAA Creative Writing and Literary Arts summer residency program. The evening events are free and open to the public.

More information on the CLIA award winners.

More than 2100 people visited the Loussac Library grounds to celebrate Reading Rendezvous 2017 and to sign up for the Library's Summer Discovery Reading Program. Participants could visit almost 40 different booths staffed by community business, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. There was live music, a magic show, dancing, live animals and a story reading by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. The Alaska Center for the Book would like to thank all the participants, vendors and volunteers, and especially, the major donors: Friends of the Library, Friends of Pets, Treeline Construction, The Children's Clinic, Anchorage Pediatric Group and Anchorage Public Library.


35th Annual Statewide Creative Writing Contest Winners Announced

Since 1981, the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Anchorage Daily News (now the Alaska Dispatch News) along with the Alaska Center for the Book have sponsored an annual creative writing contest that has drawn participants of every age in every part of Alaska. This year 537 entries were submitted from across the state. Peter Christian of Copper Center won the grand prize and the open nonfiction category with his account of winter in the north country, "Of Snow, Fire and Stars." Christian won $200 for the top prize.

And from Southeast, Helen Decker of Wrangell wrote a vivid account of commercial fishing in her piece, "Living Beautifully." She earned the editor's choice award and a $100 prize.

For more information visit the Alaska Dispatch's article about the contest.

The Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council are pleased to announce that Isabella Weiss, a freshman from Colony High School in Palmer is Alaska's State Champion. Isabella will go on to represent Alaska at the National Competition in Washington, DC in April. Elisa Larson of Petersburg High School is the Alaska Poetry Out Loud Runner-up. more…


Kachemak Bay Writing Conference, June 9 - 13, 2017. Since 2002, the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference has been at the heart of Alaska’s growing literary community. With its focus on community and craft, this conference strives to celebrate and enhance the connection between writers and readers in our communities. This year's keynote speaker is author Jane Smiley. Kachemak Bay Writing Conference web site.

Write on the Sound Writers' Conference Call for Presenter Proposals

Write on the Sound Writers' Conference, presented by the City of Edmonds Arts Commission, is accepting session proposals for the 2017 conference. The three-day conference, focused on the craft of writing, will be held October 6, 7 & 8, 2017 at the Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main Street, Edmonds, WA. The conference includes featured speakers, a writing contest, manuscript critiques, book signing reception and an on-site bookstore of presenters' publications and offers over 30 sessions for writers of all levels presented by published authors, writing instructors and publication trade professionals. Interested individuals should visit for the application and submission instructions. Call 425-771-0228, or email Laurie Rose, Conference Coordinator at with inquiries.



National Endowment for the Arts Published a 2017 Guide

The 2017 NEA Guide provides details on the programs and activities that the NEA supports, as well as funding deadlines for our various grants. Included is information on Grants for Organizations, Literature Fellowships, Lifetime Honors, and Partnerships. January 2017. 20 pp.
This publication is available online at for download.

Letters About Literature

Students in grades 4 through 12 are invited to enter Letters About Literature 2017, a national writing contest sponsored by Alaska Center for the Book and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress in partnership with Target Stores. The contest deadlines are December 2, 2016 (Level 3) and January 9, 2017 (Levels 1 and 2).

To enter, students must write a letter to an author—living or dead—explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or themselves.

The contest has three competition levels: Level 1 is open to students in grades 4 through 6; Level 2 is open to students in grades 7-8; and Level 3 is open to grades 9-12.

Each letter must be accompanied by an official entry coupon or copy of one. Entry coupons will be available at your local participating library or online here. Guidelines and teaching supplements are also available for teachers, parents, or librarians at the site.

Alaska state winners at each level will receive a $100 cash prize. They also advance to national competition. Runners-up receive $50 cash.

Six national winners (two per competition level) and 12 national honorable mentions (four per competition level) will be selected. National Winners in each competition level will receive a $1,000 cash award, and

National Honor Winners in each competition level will receive a $200 cash award.

The 23rd annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.

Press Release

Entry Coupon link.

Teachers' Guide

Alaska LAL Winning Letters Archive





The Alaska Center for the Book is included in the Permanent Fund Dividend’s Pick.Click.Give. charitable contributions program.
It’s a secure and easy way to make a donation to an organization that stimulates public interest in literacy through the spoken and written word.

When you file for your PFD online, you will be given a chance to donate money from your PFD. When you do, please remember The Alaska Center for the Book.

Just check the box that authorizes the State to send your name, contact information and the amount you give when it sends contributions to an organization so we can recognize your support.

Alaska's 2015 Pick.Click.Give program raised $800 from 13 donors.

Thanks to all who contributed. Your help allows the Alaska Center for the Book to continue its programs, events and unique projects to support and build literacy in Alaska.

For more information click here:  Pick. Click. Give.

2016 CLIA Winners Announced

Three Alaskans with a passion for the spoken and written word are the winners of the 2016 Contributions to Literacy in Alaska (CLIA) Awards. Regan Brooks, Kathryn Ohle and Don Rearden were recognized in a July 12 presentation held in conjunction with UAA’s MFA program in Creative Writing.

Alaska Center for the Book, Alaska’s liaison with the U.S. Library of Congress Center for the Book, has presented the awards annually since 1993. More than 75 previous winners from across the state include librarians, teachers, writers, tutors, learning programs and others who foster literacy, the literary arts and preservation of language.

Regan Brooks is the founder of Story Works Alaska, an all-volunteer organization that provides storytelling workshops to several Anchorage-area high schools. Storytellers and coaches work with students on skills that transfer to reading, writing and public speaking. Story Works Alaska also encourages connections among students and their communities. A former high school science teacher, Brooks began the program in 2014 with support from Vik Patel of Arctic Entries and teachers Temperance Tinker and Rachel Kittoe of West Anchorage High School; more than 1,000 students have taken part since then.

Kathryn Ohle, PhD, is the recipient of CLIA’s Sue Sherif Literacy Award, named for a longtime Alaska librarian pivotal in supporting literacy efforts through the state library system. Ohle, assistant professor of Early Childhood Education at UAA,  spearheaded “Supporting the Preservation of Native Languages and Encouraging Early Literacy with Children’s Books.” The collaborative project works with United for Literacy, students and families to provide free children’s books in Alaska Native languages via a free digital library with translated texts.

Don Rearden was raised in southwest Alaska, which is the setting for much of his writing. He is the author of the award-winning novel “The Raven’s Gift,” chosen as book of the year for the Anchorage Reads program in 2015. He describes himself as “a screenwriter, a novelist, and when the mood hits, a poet and tundra philosopher.” He is also a well-regarded associate professor at UAA and was founding board president of 49 Writers. A former Native Youth Olympics coach, he continues to work with rural Alaska youngsters in video and other writing and suicide prevention programs. His debut work of non-fiction, Never Quit, will be published by St. Martins in March 2017. 

The CLIA Awards were resented on July 12 in conjunction with UAA’s MFA program in Creative Writing.

PEN/Faulkner Award Finalists Announced

Judges Chris Abani, Chantel Acevedo, and Sigrid Nunez have announced their list of finalists for the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 4th. Following the announcement, the 37th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Ceremony & Dinner will be held on Saturday, May 6th at 7:00 p.m. at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Creative Writing Contest Winners

Winners of the 34th annual creative writing contest sponsored by the University of Alaska and Alaska Dispatch News along with the Alaska Center for the Book have been announced.



Pacific Northwest Book Awards Announced

The PNBA 2017 Book Awards went to Sherman Alexie for Thunder Boy Jr, Kelly Sue DeConnick of Portland, Oregon for Bitch Planet, Book One: Extraordinary Machine, Eowyn Ivey of Palmer, Alaska for To the Bright Edge of the World, Annie Proulx of Carnation, Washington for Barkskins, Alexis M. Smith of Portland, Oregon for Marrow Island, and Lindy West of Seattle, Washington for Shrill, Notes From a Loud Woman. More…

Since 1964 the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association has presented annual awards to recognize excellence in writing from the Pacific Northwest. Rather than soliciting nominations for specific categories, they simply require that the author and/or illustrator reside within the PNBA region (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia) and that the book be published within the current calendar year. In addition, nominations may be submitted for special awards honoring efforts in publishing, illustration, or for a body of work. Special awards are determined at the discretion of PNBA's Book Awards Committee.

The Awards Committee is made up of independent booksellers representing the PNBA region. A new committee is formed each March and the winning books are picked by the committee in mid-October.





ALA Announces Book Awards

The American Library Association recently announced the Caldecott and Newbery Medal winners for 2017.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

2017 Caldecott Medal Winner: Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Illustrated and written by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company.
2017 Caldecott Honor Books: 
Leave Me Alone! Illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol, and published by Roaring Brook Press.
Freedom in Congo Square. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Little Bee Books.
The Newbery Medal was named for 18th century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
The 2017 Newbery Medal Winner was awarded to The Girl Who Drank the Moon, written by kelly Barnhill and published by Algonquin Young Readers.
2017 Newbery Honor Books are:
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan, written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog written by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly and published by Dutton Children's Books.
Du Iz Tak? Illustrated and written by Carson Ellis and published by Candlewick Press.
They All Saw a Cat. Illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel and published by Chronicle Books.


NEA Arts_2_2015-cover

Federal Support for Creative Writing Fellowships Announced

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will award individual creative writing fellowships of $25,000 each to 37 fiction and creative nonfiction writers from 17 states as part of its first FY 2016 grant awards. Through its creative writing fellowships program, the NEA gives writers the time and space to create, revise, conduct research, and connect with readers. This year’s writers were selected from among 1,763 eligible applications by 23 readers and panelists.

“Since its inception, the creative writing fellowship program has awarded more than $45 million to a diverse group of more than 3,000 writers, many of them emerging writers at the start of their careers,” said NEA Director of Literature Programs, Amy Stolls. “These 37 extraordinary new fellows provide more evidence of the NEA’s track record of discovering and supporting excellent writers.” more…

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