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Next Alaska Center for the Book Board Meeting

6:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 25, Loussac Library, 4th floor Board Room.

Contact us for more information.





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.



Arts Council Announces Literary Awards

The Alaska State Council on the Arts recently announced the artist recipients of the 2015 Alaska Literary Awards, which are provided by the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation in partnership with ASCA.

The Alaska Literary Awardees are:

  • Christine Byl, fiction, Healy
  • Alyse Knorr, poetry, Anchorage
  • Kyle Mellen, fiction, Fairbanks
  • Jill Osier, poetry, Fairbanks

The Alaska Literary Awards recognize and support writers of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting, and mixed genres. Quality of the work submitted is the primary consideration in determining who receives the awards. The annual Alaska Literary Awards are made possible by Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli through their generous endowment of this program.

Books Are Back!

Under the heading “Books are back!” an article in the Los Angeles Times noted that Nielsen BookScan reported in December that 571 million print books were sold in 2015, 17 million more than the year before. Nielsen also reported that e-books stayed at 25 percent of total book sales, even though the format was once predicted to hit 50 percent to 60 percent. more…





Letters About Literature 2015-16 Contest

The deadline to enter the 2015-16 Letters About Literature contest has passed. Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to that author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. 

Alaska Letters About Literature Winning Letters Archive



National Book Critics Circle Announces Finalists

The NBCC announced its 30 finalists in six categories––autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry–for the outstanding books of 2015. The winners of three additional prizes were announced as well. The National Book Critics Circle Awards, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel and considered among the most prestigious in American letters, are the sole prizes bestowed by a jury of working critics and book-review editors. The awards will be presented on March 17, 2016 at the New School, in a ceremony that is free and open to the public. more…





ALA Announces Book Awards

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

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by  Sophie Blackall, written by Lindsay Mattick and published by Little, Brown and Company, an division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., was the Caldecott Medal Winner.
Finding Winnie is an incredible account of the friendship and love shared between a soldier and the real bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. Blackall beautifully interprets this multi-dimensional family story through her distinctive Chinese ink and watercolor art, capturing intimate and historical details perfect for a child’s eye. more…

Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, is the Newbery Medal Winner.

CJ’s journey with his Nana is not just a simple bus ride; it is a multi-sensory experience through which he discovers that beautiful music, nature and people surround him.  CJ’s questions are familiar, and Nana answers him with gentle wisdom.  Right up until their arrival at the last stop on Market Street, Nana guides CJ to become “a better witness for what’s beautiful.” more…




2015 National Outdoor Book Award Winners Announced

A two-year search for a grave hidden in the desert.  A 95-year old Alaskan native’s journey in a hand-carved canoe.  The unraveling of the mystery surrounding the world’s most difficult mountain.

These are some of the themes among this year’s winners of the 2015 National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA).  The annual awards program recognizes the best in outdoor writing and publishing.

One of the highlights of this year’s contest was the first award given to a work of fiction.  The winning title is “Jimmy Bluefeather,” authored by Kim Heacox.  

Heacox’s story is about 95-year old Tlingit Native named Old Keb, the last living canoe carver in a small village in Southeast Alaska.  The old native begins work on what will become his last great canoe.  Along with his grandson, two friends and a dog named Steve, they embark on a voyage to the Tlingit ancestral homeland. 

“This is a masterful portrait of contemporary Alaska,” said Watters.  “What makes this story so appealing is the character Old Keb.  He is as memorable as any character in literature and adds a humor and warmth that will keep you reading well into the night.” more…



Graphic Novelist is New Ambassador for Young People's Literature

The Library of Congress has named Gene Luen Yang the national ambassador for young people’s literature, the first graphic novelist to be so honored since the post was created in 2008.

Gene Luen Yang often mines his life for his graphic novels. He has explored being a first-generation American, and harnessed his love of computer programming. Starting this week, he will have a whole new experience to draw on. more…


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…



Pacific Northwest Book Awards Shortlist Announced

Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association has announced the 2016 Book Awards Shortlist, selected by a committee of independent booksellers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. From more than 250 nominations, the committee chose 12 finalists, written by Northwest authors and published in 2015.

For more author and title information on the finalists, visit PNBA's 2016 Shortlist page. Shortlist titles will be honored with original Book Awards Committee features on over the next several weeks.

PNBA will announce the six winners of the 2016 Pacific Northwest Book Awards in early January.


2016 Statewide Arts and Culture Conference

Save the date for the Alaska State Council on the Art's biennial arts conference, April 28-30, 2016. They are in the process of exploring themes, topics and national speakers. 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 you'd like to share send them to the Arts Council at

Author of Books for Young Adults and Children to Visit

The Alaska Association of School Librarians (AkLA) has announced its 2015/2016 Spirit of Reading selection, Matt de la Peña, acclaimed author of books for young adults and children. His book The Living is currently a high school Battle of the Books selection.
The author will visit Fairbanks and surrounding regions on March 7-12. He will visit schools, libraries, and youth facilities. Please email the program at if you are interested in an author visit. Schools outside the Fairbanks area will be able to participate through video and teleconferencing and through participation in live radio programs. More information about Mr. de la Peña and his books can be found at




Anna Lance

Anchorage Poet Honored by White House

Anna Lance, age 17 of Anchorage, AK was among five National Student Poets selected from a national pool of more than 20.000 poetry submissions included in the fourth annual class of the National Student Poets Program—the nation's highest honor for youth poets—as announced by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The teen poets' first reading of their original work was hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House as part of an appointment ceremony.

"Today is about celebrating these extraordinary young people, but it's also about bringing the power of poetry to kids across the country," shared Mrs. Obama, Honorary Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities as she congratulated the 2015 class of National Student Poets. She added, "You are now chosen to go out there and spread the word and to share your gift with as many people as you can. It takes a level of bravery to be that vulnerable . . . and share something so personal and so precious.  But that is also the beauty of poetry—how it helps you take all those complex and confusing thoughts and emotions and put them into words."

For a personal statement from Anna Lance and examples of her poetry click here.

more about the National Student Poets Program…

Librarian of Congress Appoints Juan Felipe Herrera Poet Laureate

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington recently announced the appointment of Juan Felipe Herrera as the Library’s 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, for 2015-2016. Herrera will take up his duties in the fall, participating in the Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday, September 5 and opening the Library’s annual literary season with a reading of his work at the Coolidge Auditorium on Tuesday, September 15.

"I see in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original—work that takes the sublimity and largesse of "Leaves of Grass" and expands upon it," Billington said. "His poems engage in a serious sense of play—in language and in image—that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity." more...


Poetry Out Loud Winners Named

Maeva Ordaz from Anchorage's West High School is the national Poetry Out Loud champion.

“Maeva’s dedication to her craft and the recitation of poetry is truly impressive," said Juneau's Ben Brown, chair of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, in a release. "She wonderfully illustrates the power that the arts and arts education can have on Alaskan youth. We are so proud of her incredible accomplishment to win the national finals."

For the final round of the national finals, Ordaz recited “Zacuanpapalotls,” by Brenda Cárdenas. See part of her performance here.

See Ordaz talk about Poetry Out Loud here.

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 were held in Washington D.C. on April 28-29, 2015.
The Alaska State Poetry Out Loud Competition is archived by 360 North here





Rasmuson Foundation Announces Awards

The Rasmuson Foundation announced that Anchorage artist Garry Kaulitz has been named the 2015 Distinguished Artist. The award comes with a $40,000 prize.

Kaulitz was a teacher at the University of Alaska from 1993 until his retirement in 2014.

In addition to the Distinguished Artist Award, 10 Fellowship awards were given to Mark Knapp of Fairbanks, a knife maker, writers Dawnell Smith of Anchorage and John Tetpon of Eagle River, performance artist Allison Akootchook Warden of Anchorage, choreographer Stephanie Wonchala of Anchorage, T.J. Young of Hydaburg, a carver, poet Nicole Stellon O’Donnell of Fairbanks, poet Anne Coray of Port Alsworth, poet Vivian Prescott of Sitka, and weaver Kay Parker of Juneau.

The Rasmuson Foundation announced that Anchorage artist Garry Kaulitz has been named the 2015 Distinguished Artist. The award comes with a $40,000 prize.

Kaulitz was a teacher at the University of Alaska from 1993 until his retirement in 2014.

In addition to the Distinguished Artist Award, 10 Fellowship awards were given to Mark Knapp of Fairbanks, a knife maker, writers Dawnell Smith of Anchorage and John Tetpon of Eagle River, performance artist Allison Akootchook Warden of Anchorage, choreographer Stephanie Wonchala of Anchorage, T.J. Young of Hydaburg, a carver, poet Nicole Stellon O’Donnell of Fairbanks, poet Anne Coray of Port Alsworth, poet Vivian Prescott of Sitka, and weaver Kay Parker of Juneau.

Twenty-five Project Grant awards, worth up to $7,500 each were also given. More…

Marlon James-A Brief History of Seven Killings

2015 Man Booker Prize Awarded

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James was named as the winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. A Brief History of Seven Killings is published by Oneworld Publications.

The 44-year-old, now resident in Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican author to win the prize in its 47-year history. 

A Brief History of Seven Killings is a 686-page epic with over 75 characters and voices. Set in Kingston, where James was born, the book is a fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976. Of the book, the New York Times said: ‘It’s like a Tarantino remake of “The Harder They Come”, but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner...epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex.' more…


Sherry Simpson receives Burroughs Medal

Sherry Simpson, Alaska author and associate professor in the UAA Department of Creative Writing and Literary Arts, received this year’s John Burroughs Medal for her book Dominion of Bears: Living with Wildlife in Alaska, a collection of essays on bears–both wild and urban–in the 49th state. The award is conferred annually by the John Burroughs Association (JBA) to the author of a distinguished book of natural history. Past recipients include Rachel Carson, John McPhee, Barry Lopez and Peter Mathiessen. Sherry Simpson was presented with her medal at this year’s annual JBA meeting in early April.



Carnegie Medal Winners Named

Anthony Doerr and Bryan Stevenson, werer recently named as 2015 winners of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Anthony Doerr won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for his novel All the Light We Cannot See, published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, IncBryan Stevenson won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction for his book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, published by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House. more...



SFWA Announces Nebula Awards

The Nebula Awards ® are voted on, and presented by, active members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. Founded as the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1965 by Damon Knight, the organization began with a charter membership of 78 writers; it now has over 1,500 members, among them many of the leading writers of science fiction and fantasy. 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…

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.

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