I came to a 49 Writers round table for Screenwriters last year as I just knew I wanted to write dialogue for motion pictures. The round table was led by Dave Hunsacker, an amazing screenwriter. Through information provided by 49 Writers I then applied for the Alaska Native Playwrights Project and became part of the 2012 cohort, writing my first play for theater, “The Hidden People.” This fall I’m taking the 49 Writers workshop “Unleashing the Screenwriter in You” with Don Rearden. 49 Writers not only gave me the right direction for my writing but also introduced me to the right people.
—Natalia LaMont, playwright
Being connected to Write Young Alaska and 49 Writers is stoking the fire of writing at Bethel Regional High School. There is a community of young writers in Alaska, and they’re now finding each other through distance-delivered workshops. In WYAK, kids write for the joy and the challenge of creating in an environment of people with the same passion. When we video-chatted with Don Rearden for input on our ghost stories, we weren’t just another student group making contact with someone outside of the bush: We were connecting with someone who was OF Bethel. Our concept of “writer” is becoming less alien. So far, we at BRHS are operating on a school-based program, but I hope the distance-delivered workshops will become part of the larger community here. Sometimes the very idea of creativity seems foreign. We don’t see the sculptures on the campus at Fairbanks. We don’t see the murals on the walls of Anchorage. Art, as a concept, is still rather “out there.” WYAK is instrumental in changing that. Major thanks for bringing us into the fold and connecting young writers from Bethel to creative communities across Alaska!
—Kyle Marvin, formerly “just an English teacher at BHRS”
The Anchorage Friends of the Library had the pleasure of partnering with 49 Writers earlier this year to host a Crosscurrents conversation between two fabulous and wildly popular writers. The Friends are proud to support any effort to bring readers and writers closer together. Our ability to provide a cozy space for writer and reader chat for the 49 Writers event not only helped us demonstrate our commitment to literacy and literature, it also supported the idea of bringing people to a central community spot to enjoy exceptional literature and experience hearing it from nationally acclaimed writers. We are excited to partner with 49 Writers in the future!
—LeeAnn Garrick, Friends of the Library
I’ve been writing short fiction for seven years: a handful of published stories, others in various stages like airplanes lined up on a tarmac. In all this, I’ve needed help and have found it in classes, crit groups, and workshops. One of the most helpful— the Tutka Bay Retreat with David Vann. I came away with a greater understanding of the mechanics of fiction, a conviction in my own writing and a desire to learn more. For this reason, I look forward to the Writing Center’s classes and lectures this spring. In summer, to the Kenyon Review Workshop I’ll be attending, and, of course, next Labor Day weekend, to heading back to Tutka Bay for another 49 Writers Retreat.
—Lucian Childs, writer
When I was little, my mother used to sing, “I always thought the cover of a book was like a door which opened up to some new place where I’ve not been before.” For me, the writing center is that open door. The class on “Memory as Muse” helped me excavate memories, while adding texture and meaning, so my memories are enlarged. The Tutka Bay Retreat, in such a beautiful world unto itself, helped me look at my writing closely, turning things over in my head… In that place I felt different, yet understood.
—Carol Richards, writer