Anchorage Public Library Launches Alaska Reads 2021
49 Writers Reading and Conversation Series
This free series takes place at 6:00 – 7:00 pm on the third Thursdays of the month via Zoom. Writers scheduled are:
American Indian Library Association Read Native Initiative
The AILA is sponsoring a reading challenge for 2021. They are bringing together these reading prompts to help expand the reading of Native authors. They plan to hold quarterly webinars/books talks, and hope to be fairly active on social media.
Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference May 15-18
The Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference resumes this spring after a one-year hiatus. For nineteen years, the conference has brought together hundreds of writers from around the state and the country to learn from nationally-renowned faculty. Due to COVID mandates, this year’s conference will be entirely virtual. Conference participants can take part in twelve classes, three writers’ craft conversations, a panel discussion by writers from the Peabody Award-winning PBS show Molly of Denali, as well as various networking and community building activities. More information…
Thank you for a great Alaska Book Week!
Thanks to all who helped make this year’s Alaska Book Week a success. Coordinating an all virtual Book Week was a challenge, but we ended up with a lot of engagement for both live and pre-recorded events—more than we had with past in-person only events.
This year’s Alaska Book Week offered a lot! Participants were invited to write haikus and to share videos, which we posted on our website. Viewers enjoyed a reading by AQR contributing editors. They heard from prominent women writers coping with the pandemic, from climbing and skiing guidebook writers concerned with ethics, and from women writers who considered the connections between gender, writing, and periods of immersion in the natural world. They learned about Native art history. They got a sense of what it’s like to write romance as Alaskans. They listened to a writer discuss the inspiration for her book. They learned how to take their writing projects from manuscript to print, and they got good advice about finding an agent and getting published. And finally, they watched writers share their poems.
Nobody knows what next year will look like but we are committed to taking advantage of the lessons learned this year and in past years to once again organize a viable and robust Alaska Book Week. We welcome any suggestions and ideas to accomplish our goals.
2020 Contributions to Literature in Alaska Awards Announced
Supporters of writers, literacy and education are winners of the 2020 Contributions to Literacy in Alaska (CLIA) awards, announced by the Alaska Center for the Book.
This year’s winners are Matthew Komatsu, founder of the Danger Close Alaska program for veterans and civilian writers; David Stevenson, director of the Creative Writing and Literary Arts program at University of Alaska-Anchorage; and the late Phyllis Fast, an Alaskan anthropologist and author. An award for excellence in early childhood literacy goes to Sealaska Heritage Institute and Best Beginnings.
Alaska Center for the Book is Alaska’s liaison with the U.S. Library of Congress Center for the Book. Since 1993, the CLIA awards have honored more than 90 people and programs from across the state for significant contributions in literacy, the literary arts, or the preservation of the written and spoken word.
This year’s awards are being presented virtually as part of Alaska Book Week, Oct. 4-10.
Matthew Komatsu of Anchorage was selected for his leadership in building Danger Close Alaska, a literary community of civilians and veterans. The program was started in 2016 to provide opportunities for writers of all levels. Komatsu is an author and a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been widely published in literary journals, nominated twice for Pushcart Prize and won a 2017 Alaska Literary Award. In 2018, Komatsu received a grant from the Pulitzer Center to travel to Japan to explore the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami in which his grandmother was killed. Learn more about Komatsu and Danger Close here.
Dr. David Stevenson of Anchorage is director of the UA-Anchorage Creative Writing and Literary Arts program, and guided the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program from its inception. In addition to teaching and mentoring others, he is a novelist and book reviewer, and has written extensively on mountain climbing and the outdoors. Stevenson’s short fiction collection, Letters from Chamonix, was the 2014 winner of the Banff Mountain Book Award for Fiction and Poetry. For more about Stevenson, visit his blog here.
Dr. Phyllis A. Fast, an anthropologist, professor, artist and author of Koyukon Athabascan descent, is winner of a posthumous CLIA award. Born and raised in Anchorage, she earned her bachelor’s degree at University of Alaska-Fairbanks as a young woman, and then returned to school in her 40s to earn a masters from UA-Anchorage and her doctorate from Harvard. She taught at UAA and UAF before retiring in 2014. She was the author of the award-winning Northern Athabascan Survival: Women, Community and the Future. Her writings also include two children’s books and four Native American novels. She died in September 2019.
Sealaska Heritage Institute and Best Beginnings are joint recipients of the Sue Sherif Literacy Award, for their excellence in early childhood literacy. Sealaska Heritage Institute created the “Baby Raven Reads” series as part of its early literacy program for Alaska Native families, and Best Beginnings created “Seasons of Alaska.” Both series highlight indigenous themes and Alaska Native authors, illustrators and photographers, with the goals of encouraging young children to become readers, allowing Alaska Native children to see their cultures reflected accurately, and improving cross-cultural understanding. Learn more here and here.
Do you know of a person, agency or program doing great work for literacy and literature in Alaska? CLIA award nominations are accepted year-round here. You’ll also find information on previous CLIA award winners and the other programs we support.
Pièces de Résistance
Alaska Quarterly Review’s benefit series celebrating AQR’s 40th anniversary kicks off with a live reading featuring Amy Hempel and Stuart Dybek and continues for 20 more free, live, online readings and conversations featuring 58 exceptional new, emerging, and established poets and writers who have appeared in AQR. The series is hosted by the Anchorage Museum in collaboration with The Center for Narrative and Lyric Arts and is moderated by author Heather Lende and AQR Co-Founder and Editor Ron Spatz.
Link to the event.
Link to the series.
Link to all of the events.
Virtual National Book Festival – September 25 – 27, 2020
Each year the Alaska Center for the Book participates in the The National Book Festival, which features author events and highlights authors and books from each of the 50 states. This year’s festival was held virtually.
Each state Center highlights a book for Great Reads in Great Places. This year we are highlighting the book Children of the First People by Tricia Brown (author) and Roy Corral (photographer). This is a beautiful book with a unique perspective about the rich cultural heritage of Alaska’s Native kids. Watch a video about this book.
Now that the festival is completed, author events can still be found on www.loc.gov/bookfest.
Alaska Reads 2020 Features Heather Lende Book
Heather Lende’s book, Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer, is the selection for the Alaska Reads program for 2020.
Heather is participating in a number of Zoom sessions, with libraries and groups, throughout the state. Click here for her preliminary schedule. This schedule will be updated. Check back for the most current information.
Monday, October 5, Hometown Alaska from Alaska Public Media, host Kathleen McCoy welcomed Heather for a radio discussion about Find the Good and her other books. Here is the link to hear the prerecorded program.
October 15, 6:00 – 7:00 pm. Heather read from Find the Good, via Zoom, as part of the Reading and Craft Talk series from 49 Writers.
Alaska Reads is a statewide reading initiative spanning genre and sharing the work of diverse living authors. Alaska Reads bridges vast distances through a shared story. The biennial, statewide program seeks to build excitement around contemporary Alaskan authors and the stories they tell. The selection committee is made up of librarians and writers from the major regions of the state and is chaired by Frank Soos, former Writer Laureate for the state.
37th Annual Statewide Creative Writing Contest Winners Announced
We are pleased to celebrate the winners of the 37th UAA/Anchorage Daily News Creative Writing Contest. The contest began in 1981, the brainchild of newly arrived UAA English professor Ron Spatz. Since 2010, the Alaska Center for the Book has served as the coordinating partner, providing hundreds of volunteer hours to manage entries, judging, and contacting winners–the best part of all.
Nearly 500 entries were submitted for this year’s contest. We are always happy to see entries from classrooms across Alaska. Entries arrived from writers in Anchor Point, Anchorage, Big Lake, Caswell, Chignik Lake, Chugiak, Cordova, Eagle River, Fort Wainwright, For Richardson, Haines, Healy, Homer, Houston, Juneau, Kake, Kasilof, Kenai, Ketchikan, King Salmon, Kotzebue, Nikiski, North Pole, Palmer, Port Alsworth, Seward, Sitka, Soldotna, Talkeetna, Tenakee Springs, Tok, Utqiavik,Valdez, Wasilla, Willow, and Wrangell. Winners ranged in age from 8 to 82.
Full text of the first place winning entries for this year’s contest and previous contests can be found online at LitSite Alaska.
A color full page announcement with photos of the winners was in the Anchorage Daily News, Sunday, May 17 on page B6.
Best Beginnings Wins National Award
The Alaska Center for the Book announced that Best Beginnings has been awarded a 2020 Library of Congress State Literacy Award in a competitive process. Best Beginnings has been recognized for outstanding contributions to the promotion of literacy and reading in the local community and state. The amount of the reward is $2,225. The Alaska Center for the Book nominated Best Beginnings for this competitive award which was given to just 10 organizations in the country.
These awards are made possible through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein and are administered though the Library of Congress Learning and Innovation Office, a division of the Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement. More information…
Alaska State Poetry Out Loud Contest 2020
The Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council are pleased to announce the ten state finalists for the 2020 Alaska Poetry Out Loud Competition. These ten students have progressed in competition at the classroom, school and regional levels, across Alaska. more…
UAA/APU Books of the Year
The UAA/APU Books of the Year program offers faculty a chance to use shared texts to engage students in conversations around critical themes. The question of how to build community resilience is a hot topic now in communities around the world, including Anchorage. For more information.
23rd Kenai Peninsula Writers Contest. All Peninsula residents are invited to participate in the 23rd Kenai Peninsula Writers Contest. Winners in each category and division will receive prizes such as cash, Homer Bucks and local gift certificates. Entry form here. More information…
Call for Submissions, Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought. “Women’s Wisdom, Women’s Strength.”
We want to hear stories, poems, songs, dreams, letters, and imaginings of Native Women. More Information.
Hometown Reads is in Anchorage! A website dedicated to locating authors near you, Hometown Reads has a section for Anchorage. Sign up to have your book displayed and join the Facebook page to brainstorm ways to advertise and sell books locally. Check it out at https://hometownreads.com.
Youth Poet Laureate. You probably know that there is a United States Poet Laureate, but you may have never having heard of the Youth Poet Laureate. Here is a link to a excellent article from TheLilly.com that features a conversation with two Youth Laureates. more…
2020 Permafrost Book Prize in Poetry
Sara Ryan is the winner of the 2020 Permafrost Book Prize in Poetry. Her entry is titled I Thought There Would Be More Wolves. The contest was judged by Elizabeth Bradford. (More…)
Permafrost Magazine is the farthest north literary journal for writing and the arts. Founded in 1977, Permafrost is housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks MFA program, and run by dedicated creative writing graduate students. They publish a winter print issue as well as a spring online issue, both of which feature poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction by established writers and new voices alike.
“Baby Raven” Books Wins AILA Award
Sealaska Heritage Institute’s (SHI) Baby Raven Reads book Raven Makes the Aleutians has won a Picture Book Honor award from the American Indian Library Association (AILA).
The AILA, an affiliate of the American Library Association, announced winners of its biennial Youth Media Awards today in Philadelphia, calling the selected books “the best of the best in children’s and young adult literature.” More…
ALA announces 2020 Youth Media Award Winners
The American Library Association recently announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards. More…
PICK. CLICK. GIVE
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.
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.