People of 49 Writers Center

ERIN HOLLOWELL, Executive Director

Erin Coughlin Hollowell is a poet and writer who lives in Homer. She earned her MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University in 2009. She was the Rona Jaffe Scholarship winner in poetry for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2010. In 2013, she was awarded a Rasmuson Foundation Fellowship by the Rasmuson Foundation and a Connie Boochever Award by the Alaska State Council on the Arts. She was one of the inaugural recipients of the Alaska Literary Awards in 2014. She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Willapa Bay Artist in Residency Program, and the Cill Rialaig Arts Centre. She is an assistant to the director and on the faculty of the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. Her work has most recently been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Blast Furnace, Terrain: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environment, Sugar House Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her poem “Heap’d stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed” was a finalist for the 2015 49th Parallel Award for Poetry for The Bellingham Review. Pause, Traveler released by Boreal Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press, is her first book-length collection released in 2013

DON REARDEN, Board President

Don Rearden is the author of The Raven’s Gift and a produced screenwriter. His films have aired on Showtime, TMC, and the Sci-Fi Network. Rearden lives in the mountain community of Bear Valley, Alaska, and teaches as an Assistant Professor of Developmental Studies at the Universityof Alaska Anchoragewhere he shows young writers how to develop their creative voices. Much of his writing and thought is influenced from learning experiences in the Alaskan wilderness, as well as from the teachings and writings of his mentor and friend, Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael and The Story of B.


Kirsten Dixon attended the Cordon Bleu school in Paris and received a master’s degree in gastronomy (food history) from Adelaide University in Australia. She received her MFA in creative writing from Goddard College in Vermont. She is the author of the award-winning Winterlake Lodge Cookbook. She owns and operates three remote lodges in Alaska and is an avid gardener.


Amy O’Neill Houck is a writer living in Juneau, Alaska. Amy recently completed her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and she enjoys teaching writing classes in Juneau through 49 Writers. Amy works as Outreach and Development Associate at Perseverance Theatre, and she writes occasionally for The Juneau Empire, The Capital City Weekly, and The Cordova Times. She recently published an essay in Cirque Journal. Amy is also a knitwear designer and is the author of three books of knitting and crochet patterns, and the contributor to many books and magazines on the history, art, and techniques of fiber art. Amy maintains a blog about wool, food, and life in Alaska at

JEREMY PATAKY, Co-Founder and Board Member

Jeremy Pataky is the author of Overwinter, his debut book of poetry forthcoming from University of Alaska Press. He earned an MFA from the University of Montana and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from The Foraker Group. His work has appeared in Black Warrior Review,Colorado Review, Cirque, Ice Floe, Northern Review, The Southeast Review, Anchorage Daily News, and many others. A former nonprofit executive director, wilderness guide, university and after-school elementary instructor, and writing tutor, Jeremy currently works as a consultant in arts, culture, and communications. He divides his time between Anchorage and his cabin near McCarthy, in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

JOAN PARDES, Board member

A former journalist, Joan Pardes now writes essays, poetry, and fiction along with technical gigs for her business—Pardes Public Relations. Her work has appeared in Alaska Magazine’s Anthology and a variety of magazines and newspapers. Along with her journalism career, Joan has worked in the public relations field for more than two decades. She lives in Juneau with her husband, daughter, and dog.


Katrina Woolford Pearson has more than two decades of experience as a bookseller, author events coordinator, and publicist in Alaska. She also serves as the Publications Chair for the Gastineau Channel Historical Society in Juneau, a board member of the Friends of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, is the owner of Taku Grahics, an Alaska art and book distribution company, and co-founder of Shorefast Editions. Her roots in the state run deep, from a childhood growing up in Juneau, to her grandfather who was a Territorial Fish & Wildlife Officer in the 1940s, and her great-grandfather who was a member of the Territorial Legislature. Katrina also spent several years in Fairbanks, as manager of the farthest north bookstore in the U.S.


ANDROMEDA ROMANO-LAX – Born in 1970 in Chicago, Andromeda Romano-Lax worked as a freelance journalist and travel writer before turning to fiction. Her first novel, The Spanish Bow (Harcourt, 2007), was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and was translated into 11 languages. Her second novel, The Detour, enlarged upon themes introduced in her debut novel, including questions about the role of art – and the promise of love – during wartime. Among Romano-Lax’s nonfiction works are ten travel and natural history interpretive guidebooks to Alaska and Mexico, as well as a travel narrative, Searching for Steinbeck’s Sea of Cortez: A Makeshift Expedition Along Baja’s Desert Coast (Sasquatch Books). In the last year she has divided her time between Asia and Anchorage, Alaska, where she co-founded and continues to teach for 49 Writers as well as in the UAA low-residency MFA program. She is the recipient of grants from the Alaska Council on the Arts and the Rasmuson Foundation, which named her a 2009 Artist Fellow. She received her MFA and post-MFA in creative writing pedagogy from Antioch University Los Angeles.

DEB VANASSE began her writing career with the Junior Literary Guild selection A Distant Enemy. She has gone on to publish twelve titles and has recently launched a publishing venture and authors’ cooperative, Running Fox Books. Her most recent book is Black Wolf of the Glacier, published by the University of Alaska Press. Upcoming titles include No Returns, the first in the Battleband series featuring three friends who take on the devil, andCold Spell, about a woman obsessed with a glacier.