Poetry in Place Project for 2015 Seeks Poems

For its third and final year, the Poems in Place project seeks one poem to place at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park in Kodiak and one poem for Caines Head State Recreational Area in Seward.

Poems from past years’ contests are installed in Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan, Chena River State Recreational Area near Fairbanks, Independence Mine State Historical Park near Palmer, Lake Aleknagik/Wood-Tikchik State Park near Dillingham, and at Beluga Point in Chugach State Park.

For more information about this year’s contest and the Poetry in Place project click here.

Alaska Reads 2015

The Raven's Gift, a sci-fi novel by Don Rearden, is the selection for Anchorage Reads 2015, a community reading program. From Feb. 20 to March 20 participants are asked to read and talk about the book. Events planned include a "Book and Brew" celebration at Anchorage Community Works, fireside storytelling, a theater performance and an author talk. For more information about Anchorage Reads 2015 click this link.


CLIA Award Nominations Sought

Nominations for the Contribution for Literacy In Alaska Award are due April 30.

Each year the Alaska Center for the Book presents Contributions to Literacy in Alaska (CLIA) Awards. The awards recognize those persons and institutions who have made a significant contribution, in the battle for literacy, to the literary arts, or to the preservation of the written or spoken word in Alaska. Award winners have included librarians, teachers, writers, tutors and others dedicated to making the world a better place through the gift of language.

The nomination form is available here.


Poetry Out Loud Winners Named

Maeva Ordaz from Anchorage's West Hight School is Alaska's Poetry Out Loud state champion. The runner up is Victory Moloney from Ben Eielson Jr/Sr High School in Fairbanks.

The ten state finalists who competed in the recitation competition in Juneau on March 10 are:
Jillian Elaine Bjornstad from Sand Point School
Brianha Gerlach from Gennallen School
Madison Gilberto from Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau
Jayne Hanna from Nuniwarmiut School in Mekoryuk
August Kilcher from Homer High School
Victoria Moloney from Ben Eielson Jr/Sr High School in Fairbanks
Angela Nashalook from Frank A Degnan High School in Unalakleet
Maeva Ordaz from West Anchorage High School
Juliana Smit from Colony High School in Palmer
Alexandra Dawn Weber from Skagway School

This is the tenth year of Poetry Out Loud, a program developed and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and State Arts Agencies, in partnership with schools, school districts, public libraries, local arts agencies across the United States.
For many years, the Alaska State Council on the Arts has partnered with the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council (JAHC) to produce the Alaska State Poetry Out Loud finals in Juneau.
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure similar to spelling bee competitions; the first level of competition begins at the classroom level, with winners advancing to school-wide competition, then on to regionals and the state finals. The competition concludes with National Finals, which will be held in Washington D.C. on April 28-29, 2015.
The Alaska State Poetry Out Loud Competition is archived by 360 North here

UA Press Permafrost Book Prize

The University of Alaska Press recently released Adam Tavel’s Plash and Levitation—the inaugural selection for the Permafrost Book Prize.

Plash and Levitation delves into the chaotic sublime of fatherhood, the candid revelations of youth and the lingering consequences of history. Adam Tavel’s revealing and imaginative poems are joined by fictional monologues from historical figures and cultural icons, juxtaposing personal history with our shared one. Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman and rock legend Keith Moon are joined by musings from the Redskins logo and the Wolfman. Together they create a lively chorus that clashes and soars. The result is forty-two fascinating pieces that are witty, consistently musical and undeniably powerful.


Reading Rendezvous 2015

Join us for our annual celebration of literacy on Saturday, May 16, noon to 4:00 pm for Reading Rendezvous at the Loussac Library. This year's theme is "Every Hero Has a Story." Expect many activities provided by local organizations, live music and live animals. All activities and admission are free.


Alaska Book Week 2015

Alaska Book Week 2015 will take place October 3-10 and everyone is invited to participate again this year. As we are expanding on the efforts and successes of last year's events, we have a few new things in store this year. We will be updating this website for a cleaner and more accessible look, sending out new advertising and sponsorship materials, and developing something exciting with YouTube! Please be on the lookout for new updates on this website and via email.

If you have any questions or comments about this year's event, please contact the Alaska Book Week coordinator at akbookweek@gmail.com.

Kachemak Bay Writer's Conference

June 12 - 16, Homer, Alaska

Keynote Speaker: Andre Dubus III

Conference website


Fireside Books receives Patterson grant

Palmer bookstore owner David Cheezem announced that his store, Fireside Books, has received a $7,500 grant from best-selling author James Patterson. Cheezem said the grant will be used to promote Alaska authors. In 2014 Patterson gave away over a million dollars to independent bookstores. According to his website, in 2015 James Patterson has pledged to continue to support independent bookstores in innovative ways and will champion a new initiative centered on getting our kids reading and supporting school libraries.

Creative Writing Contest

Deadline was February 10, 2015.

The UAA/Alaska Dispatch News Creative Writing Contest is now closed. Winners will be announced in mid-May.

Library of Congress Accepting Applications for Literacy Awards

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Library of Congress Literacy Awards. The trio of awards were initiated by David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group. They were first conferred in 2013 to support organizations working to alleviate the problems of illiteracy, both in the United States and worldwide. The awards seek to recognize organizations doing exemplary, innovative and easily replicable work over a sustained period of time and to encourage new groups, organizations and individuals to become involved.

The application rules and a downloadable application form may be accessed at www.read.gov/literacyawards/. Applications must be received no later than midnight on March 31, 2015.



PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalists

Judges have announced this year’s finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

The five finalists, whose work was chosen from 360 novels and story collections by American authors published in 2014, are Song of the Shank by Jeffery Renard Allen (Graywolf); Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement (Hogarth); Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish (Tyrant); Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf); and Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill (Vintage).

The winner, to be announced April 7, will receive $15,000, while the runners-up will receive $5,000. All five finalists will speak at the 35th annual award ceremony at the Folger Library in Washington, D.C., on May 2.  More…


Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Awards Announced

The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association has announced their 2015 Book Awards Shortlist. Committee members considered more than 300 nominated titles published during 2014 for a 2015 award. In early November the Committee chose these fifteen titles, from which the winners will be selected. More…




Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction Awarded to Louise Erdrich

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has announced that Louise Erdrich, author of such critically acclaimed novels as "Love Medicine," "The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse," "The Plague of Doves" and her current novel, "The Round House," will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2015 Library of Congress National Book Festival, Sept. 5. more…




Women’s Prize for Fiction

The judges have announced the longlist for the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, which is awarded annually for excellence, originality, and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. Twenty titles, including five debuts, were selected; see the full list here.

“The Prize’s 20th year is a particularly strong one for women’s fiction,” Chair of Judges Shami Chakrabarti said. “All judges fought hard for their favorites and the result is a 2015 list of 20 to be proud of — with its mix of genres and styles, first-timers and well-known names from around the world. “

The shortlist will be announced mid-April, with the winner to be named June 3.

Caldecott and Newbery Awards for Children's Literature Announced

The Association for Library Service to Children recently announced the winners of the Caldecott and Newbery Awards.

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. 

The 2015 Caldecott Medal was awarded to The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, illustrated and written by Dan Santat and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. There are six Caldecott Honor books named.

The 2015 Newbery Medal was awarded to The Crossover, written by Kwame Alexander and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The Newbery Honor Books are El Deafo, written by Cece Bell, illustrated by Cece Bell and published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, and Brown Girl Dreaming, written by Jacqueline Woodson and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).

For more information visit the Association for Library Service to Children website.

Governor's Award for the Arts

The Alaska Humanities Forum has announced the 2015 Governor's Awards for the Arts and Humanities. The annual awards are presented by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Alaska Humanities Forum in coordination with the Office of the Governor. The event took place Thursday, January 29, 2015 at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center. Performances by Alaska artists were featured.

A Fairbanks couple earned double honors as University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor Emeritus and former creative writing teacher, Frank Soos was named the new Alaska State Writer Laureate. Sculptor Margo Klass, Soos' wife was the recipient of the 2015 Governor's Award for the Arts.

For more information click here.

NEA Grant Awards Announced

Recipients of  the National Endowment for the Arts grants in the Art Works, Challenge America, and Creative Writing Fellowships: Poetry categories for fall 2014 were recently announced

 Alaska winners of the grants were:
49 Writers, Inc., Anchorage
Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage
Anchorage Museum Association, Anchorage
Fairbanks Concert Association, Fairbanks
Bunnell Street Arts Center, Homer
Juneau Jazz & Classics, Inc., Juneau
Alaska Arts Sountheast, Inc., Sitka
Island Institute, Sitka
Sitka Summer Music Festival, Inc., Sitka
Special congratulations to Sean Hill, Fairbanks, who is the recipient of a $25,000 Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry.
For more information about the grants click here.

Letters About Literature 2015

Students in grades 4 through 12 are invited to enter Letters About Literature, a national writing contest sponsored by Alaska Center for the Book and the Center of the Book in the Library of Congress. Information about the 2015 Letters About Literature contest is available here: LAL Guidelines and also on the Library of Congress Center for the Book site.



The deadline for the 2015 contest was December 15, 2014 for grades 9-12 and the deadline for grades 4-8 was January 15, 2015.


Poems in Place Dedications and Celebrations

Dedications and celebrations were recently held at the installations of two new Poems in Place. Poems in Place were recently installed at the Lake Aleknagik State Recreation Site/Wood-Tikchik State Park near Dillingham and at Independence Mine State Historical Park at Hatcher Pass.



 For more information visit our Poems in Place web page.

Sue Sherif Literacy Award

This year, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program encouraged us to create a special award for literacy. We've chosen to name that award for someone special--a longtime Alaska Center for the Book board member, herself a former CLIA recipient, who is retiring from the state library system. She has dedicated her career to readers of all ages in all parts of the state. Her passion for libraries, books and readers are an inspiration to many people around Alaska. The first recipients of the Sue Sherif Literacy Award are members of a team that created interactive children's books in Cup'ik. Joseph Gorski is director of technology and federal programs for the Kashunamiut School District in Chevak. Dr. Bob Wicker is director of the Consortium for Digital Learning of the Association of Alaska School Boards. They helped form a team which translated an interactive book series into the Chevak region's language. Finding books that are relevant, accessible and affordable to Alaska Native language speakers has been a longtime goal of the Alaska Center for the Book, and we're delighted that this program is so successful.  




Sue Sherif

Sue Sherif

Alaska Literary Awards

This year, the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation unveiled a new program, the Alaska Literary Awards, which are funded through a very generous donation from our former State Writer Laureate, Peggy Shumaker, and Joe Usibelli.

Five recipients of the inaugural Alaska Literary Awards were named:



Ernestine Hayes | mixed genre | Juneau
Erin Hollowell | poetry | Homer
Joan Kane | poetry | Anchorage, King Island, Mary's Igloo
Susanna Mishler | poetry | Anchorage, Hope
Frank Soos | fiction and essays | Fairbanks






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.

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

Next Alaska Center for the Book Board Meeting

Wednesday, April 1, 6:00 pm. Z.J. Loussac Library, 4th floor, staff conference room., contact us for more information.

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