At 49 Writers, we value your support and work hard to make sure that your contribution—whether it comes in the form of a donation, tuition fee or Pick.Click.Give. pledge—translates into meaningful instruction, memorable literary events, and outreach to Alaska’s writing community. For information on our income and expenses for 2013, follow the links in the sidebar. 2014 financial data will be available soon.
The mission of 49 Writers is to support the artistic development of writers across Alaska, foster a writing community, and build an audience for literature.
Our 2014 team consisted of a part-time executive director, a six-member board of directors, and eight regular and 11 occasional volunteers. Community partners included Alaska Center for the Book, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Anchorage Public Library, Anchorage Senior Center, Anchorage Women’s Club, Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center, Craig Public Library, Juneau Public Library, the Island Institute, Ketchikan Public Library, University of Alaska Southeast, and University of Fairbanks English Department.
Supporting the artistic development of writers across Alaska
We offered 31 affordable, high-quality classes taught by 19 Alaskan and three visiting instructors: 17 in Anchorage (including four memoir workshop series for our Anchorage Centennial project), seven in Juneau, two in Soldotna, and one each in Barrow, Craig, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Talkeetna. This equated to 156 hours of creative writing instruction. Registrations for workshops totaled 332 (180 in Anchorage and 152 in other communities), with many writers taking more than one class. (Right: Sherry Simpson at UAS in Juneau)
- Topics ranged from “How to Write a Poem: Make a List” to “Complex and Conflicted Characters” and “Memoir Matters.”
- Faculty included Christine Byl, Camille Dungy, Caroline Goodwin, Ernestine Hayes, Seth Kantner, Don Rearden, Andromeda Romano-Lax, Katey Schultz, Sherry Simpson, Frank Soos, Dana Stabenow, John Straley, and Deb Vanasse.
- Class registrations totaled 180 in Anchorage, 103 in Juneau, and 49 in the rest of Alaska. Our classes and instructors received a 97 percent and 98 percent overall satisfaction rating, with 96 percent of participants stating that the course contributed to their knowledge and skills as a writer.
- Twenty writers participated in the Tutka Bay Writers Retreat with Carolyn Forché.
Eight writers—from Anchorage, Girdwood, Juneau, Valdez, and Wasilla—participated in our first online course with Andromeda Romano-Lax, “Your Novel Now”.
Fostering a writing community
- In 2014, the 49 Writers blog featured 210 posts from 86 regular and guest bloggers, as well as the weekly roundup of news about literary happenings in Alaska.
- Blog page views averaged 25,253 a month (up from 10,497 two years ago) and 227 people currently ‘follow’ the blog.
- In January, we held Resolve to Write gatherings hosted by members in Juneau, Anchorage, and Palmer, attended by 46 writers.
- In Juneau, the newly established writers group for 49 Writers members met five times to network and share their writing, with 15-30 participating.
- Meet the Author events took place in Anchorage (Blue-Hollomon Gallery) and Juneau (Coppa) featuring Brendan Jones (right), Don Rearden, and John Straley.
- In September, we partnered with University of Washington Press to host a talk and individual consultations on publishing with a university press.
Building an audience for literature
- Our Crosscurrents events this year, attended by some 217 lovers of literature, featured Sherry Simpson and Christine Byl, Luis Alberto Urrea and Bryan Fierro, and Joan Kane, Seth Kantner, Deb Vanasse, and Beth Hill (moderated by former State Writer Laureate Peggy Shumaker). Crosscurrents partners included the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Anchorage Public Library, and UAF English Department.
- Our Reading & Craft Talks, hosted by sponsor Great Harvest Bread Company, consistently drew 25-40 lovers of literature and featured writers from all genres: John Straley, Katey Schultz, Elise Patkotak, David Stevenson, Susanna Mishler, and Lee Goodman. The total audience for 2014 was 200.
- In September, as part of our Crosscurrents Southeast author tour made possible by a grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum, Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes held on-stage conversations in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Craig on the important topic of “Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn: Cultural Appropriation in Alaskan Writing.” These events were attended by a total audience of 140.
- This year, we collaborated with a new coalition of organizations to coordinate the 4th Annual Alaska Book Week In October. Thank you to our partners Alaska Center for the Book, Anchorage Public Library, and the Alaska State Library for their successful efforts to grow this celebration of Alaska’s authors and their books.
We could not offer such strong and varied programming without your continuing support.
As individuals, your contributions accounted for more than 30 percent of 2014’s $77,600 income. Membership activity grew from 91 in 2012 to 157 in 2013, reaching 230 in 2014. As a result, we have been able to serve more communities.
As volunteers, in 2014 you logged more than 1,000 hours (total value $31,025) to help us bring programs to writers.
Businesses that continue to offer substantial support include Within the Wild Adventure Company and Great Harvest Bread Company. Thanks also go to Bear Tooth and Moose’s Tooth, Fireside Books, Raven’s Brew Coffee, Snow City Cafe and Spenard Roadhouse, Title Wave Books, and Todd Communications. We are also very appreciative of foundation and grant funding from the Usibelli Foundation, the Alaska Humanities Forum, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts.
With your support, 2016 promises even more in the way of instruction, events, and outreach to Alaska’s literary community. If you’d like to help, you can make a contribution here.