Spring Registration will officially open on Monday, January 4. Consistent with past years, in 2015, our students gave both instructors and classes a 98 percent excellence rating.

Develop Your Creative Writing Skills with Our In Person & Online Classes

Please scroll down for all classes.

Information on Online Classes is here.
Information on Anchorage In Person Classes is here.
Information on Homer In Person Classes is here.
Information on Juneau In Person Classes is here.

All registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis; we do not hold slots or accept installment payments. Payment in full is required at the time of registration and before participating in a class. You can register and pay with VISA/Mastercard via our secure server by clicking the “Register Now” links below. If you prefer to pay by check or PayPal complete and submit our online form. Class size is limited for some courses, so we recommend you register early to avoid disappointment. Please be sure you are a current member of 49 Writers before registering at the member rate.

We do not issue refunds if you cancel but if you notify us at least 24 hours in advance, we will provide a tuition voucher in the amount of your registration (valid for one year) less a 10% cancelation fee. If 49 Writers has to cancel a class due to unforeseen circumstances, we will issue a full tuition refund.

At this time we are unable to offer distance options for regular classes (either by teleconference or Skype) and participation must be in person. Dependent on grant funding, we hope to offer the occasional class at your local library via Alaska OWL. For regular updates on classes and author events, sign up for our newsletter or follow our blog.

For more information, visit About Our Programs or contact us via email. If you have a physical disability, please contact us immediately so we can accommodate your needs.

SPRING 2016

ANCHORAGE IN PERSON CLASSES

Writing from Historical Research taught by Kate Partridge 

When: February 13 and 27, 9am-noon

Where: 161 E 1st Avenue, Door 15, the Alaska Humanities Forum

All genres

Description: This course will investigate opportunities for writing in all genres from historical records and archival materials. Class meetings will include writing exercises, examples, and an archives visit.

Kate Partridge received her MFA in poetry from George Mason University and teaches in the English Dept. at UAA. Her chapbook Intended American Dictionary is forthcoming from MIEL Books, and her poems and lyric essays have been published in Pleiades, Blackbird, Colorado Review, and Tupelo Quarterly, among others.

Registration Closed

Mini Memoirs: Let’s Do Some Writing! taught by Judith Conte

When: February 20-21 and 27-28, 1-3pm

Where: 161 E 1st Avenue, Door 15, the Alaska Humanities Forum

Genre: Nonfiction

Description: Pick a moment from your life that best represents you. Then plot out the memoir and write it, with dialogue, character, setting, and theme, in 750 words. Small-group workshops; large group reading. 2 hours each Saturday and Sunday for two consecutive weekends.

Registration Closed

What Women Want taught by Martha Amore

When: March 3, 6-9pm

Where: 161 E 1st Avenue, Door 15, the Alaska Humanities Forum

All Genres

Description: What does woman want? Freud never found a satisfying answer to the question, so he termed women “a dark continent.” This course focuses on how to develop complex and full-bodied female characters. Emphasizing the psychology of women, students explore ways in which character interacts with other literary elements such as style, setting, and plot. During the seminar portion of the course, participants learn the newest research on the psychology of women, and then engage in a close reading and discussion of female literary characters. In the writing lab, participants practice character-building devices in a friendly and supportive workshop structure.

Registration Closed

“THE END!” Writing Good Endings and Achieving Closure  taught by Alyse Knorr 

When: March 5, 6-9pm

Where: 161 E 1st Avenue, Door 15, the Alaska Humanities Forum

All Genres

Description: The ending of a piece of literature is the last thing readers remember, and it’s what makes the piece memorable—an incredible ending can make a good story, poem, or essay great. In this class, writers from all genres will work together to explore what makes a good ending and how we can create a satisfying feeling of closure at the end of our own poems, short stories, and essays. By analyzing examples and applying theoretic principles of closure, students of all levels will identify elements of excellent endings that they can incorporate into their own writing. Students will consider thematic, sonic, and plot-based endings and take part in in-class writing exercises and mini-workshops to share and receive feedback on both old and new pieces of their own writing.

Registration Closed

Writing with Anna Akhmatova taught by Olga Livshin and Kathleen Tarr

When: March 12 and 19 9am-1pm

Where: 161 E 1st Avenue, Door 15, the Alaska Humanities Forum

Genre: Poetry and nonfiction

Description: : Akhmatova’s life, which began in 1889 and ended in 1966, spanned some of the most dramatic and tragic events in Russia of the twentieth century. The magnitude of her work was equal to the scope of her hardships. Even when her immediate family members were executed or imprisoned, even when she was denounced as a “harlot,” she continued to write, sometimes committing her work to memory rather than paper. Her poetry explores difficult topics, from intimate relationships gone awry to the sweeping trauma of Stalinism and war. At the same time, her work is marked by subtlety, minimalism, and a quiet, dignified voice. In her essays, Akhmatova reflects on twentieth-century literature and art, and the people who created it. She leaves the reader with a number of insights into Russian and European culture.

In “Writing with Anna Akhmatova,” poets and nonfiction writers will learn about this remarkable poet, far outside the American literary tradition, and will be prompted to respond to her work. The class takes place on two consecutive Saturday half-days. In Session 1, participants will be introduced to Akhmatova’s biography and selected writings, in English translation. Between Session 1 and Session 2, writers will be encouraged to write the first draft of a poem or an essay start in response to Akhmatova.  A mini-workshop and discussion will follow in Session 2. Through the introduction to Akhmatova, participants will gain a fresh literary perspective and inspiration for expanding the range of their own work.

Registration Closed. To be placed on a wait list, please email 49writers@gmail.com.

Forms of Poetry taught by Alyse Knorr 

When:  April 6, 14, 20, and 27, 6-9pm (three Wednesdays, one Thursday)

Where: 161 E 1st Avenue, Door 15, the Alaska Humanities Forum

Genre: Poetry

Description: Immanuel Kant once said that “In all beautiful art the essential thing is the form,” and Irish poet Paul Muldoon has stated that “Form is a straightjacket in the way that a straightjacket was a straightjacket for Houdini.” A knowledge of form significantly deepens and expands one’s understanding of poetry, whether for purposes of reading or writing. This course will introduce students to a wide range of traditional and contemporary poetic forms, including the sonnet, accentual, syllabic, haiku, pantoum, villanelle, visual poem, ballad, acrostic/mesostic, open field, and free verse. In this class for students of all levels, we will read examples of each form, examine the history of the form and how it’s used today, try our hand at writing in each form, and discuss the relationship between form and content (a.k.a. when and why to use each form). We will also discuss and practice ways that contemporary poets subvert, remix, or otherwise revise traditional forms to suit their needs.

Registration Closed

Effectively Use Microsoft Word to Publish your Book to Kindle taught by Lara Madden

When: April 7,  6-9pm

Where: 161 E 1st Avenue, Door 15, the Alaska Humanities Forum

All genres

Description: This course would be hands on tutorial using Microsoft Word 2013 on a PC or Word 2011 or MS 365 web app for MAC users to correctly format a manuscript to publish to Kindle and tips for formatting for other ePub formats. Participants will learn how to use Styles, correct embedding of pictures and other tools that render correctly when uploading to the online publishing formats. Participants will leave with a formatted document, and tips and tricks to make the formatting process easier for future projects. Technology note: participants must have access to MS Word before taking the class, the software does not come with the class tuition fee.

Registration Closed

Set Your Fiction on Fire taught by Kim Heacox 

When: April 13, 6-9pm

Where: 161 E 1st Avenue, Door 15, the Alaska Humanities Forum

Genre: Fiction

Description: Working on a novel? Thinking about it? Looking for inspiration? A few ideas? Join Gustavus novelist Kim Heacox for a 3-hour-long workshop on how to improve your fiction. The author of JIMMY BLUEFEATHER (winner of the 2015 National Outdoor Book Award for creative fiction), Kim will discuss:

  1. character development: how to make one or more compelling character(s) that the readers care deeply for;
  2. using strong points-of-view (and shifting points-of-view) to further develop characters and the story;
  3. creating a plot that’s compelling, not corny;
  4. scene setting that adds tension by entering late and leaving early, and
  5. compelling dialogue that employs intelligence, color, morality, humor and wit….

Each subject will cover about 30 minutes and involve short writing exercises and time for sharing. There will be an opening, a closing, and a 15-minute break in the middle. Kim will offer handouts and employ writing samples from Alaskan and non-Alaskan novelists, including Anthony Doerr, Charles Frazier, Chad Harbach, Seth Kantner, Eowyn Ivey and his own work, among others. Above all, he aims to make this workshop fun and illuminating. We hope to see you there.

Registration Closed

HOMER IN PERSON CLASSES

Confusing the Censor: Nurturing Receptive Mind taught by Peter Kaufmann and Wendy Erd

When: April 16 6:30-8:30pm, April 17 9am-noon & 1-4pm

Where: Bunnell Street Arts Center

All genres

Description: How do you become porous enough to sense the world and become its scribe? In each moment we are surrounded by dormant possibilities. This fun and engaging workshop will move between activities and writing practice. Join us to bridge inner and outer awareness, explore the leaping mind and write from presence.

Registration Closed

JUNEAU IN PERSON CLASSES

Walking the Line by Susanna Mishler
When: January 30, 9am-noon
Where: Taku Graphics/Shorefast Editions, 5723 Concrete Ways
All genres

What exactly is a poetic line made of? What difference does it make where the line “breaks?” In this workshop participants will examine lines by contemporary English-language poets which are used to achieve very different effects. We will also experiment with lineation strategies and types with in-class exercises. Our exercises and guided discussion will help illuminate what makes a strong poetic line, and how an understanding of poetic lines can enhance our own writing and reading. Suitable for poets and prose writers, as well as readers who would like to broaden their knowledge of poetic craft.

Registration Closed.

Everything I Can Teach You About Humor Writing in 3 Hours by Geoff Kirsch

When: February 4, 6-9pm

Where: Taku Graphics/Shorefast Editions 5723 Concrete Way

All genres

Description: Humor writing is a craft — like pottery, needlepoint or parallel parking. With proper technique and lots of practice, not only can you write humorously about almost anything; you can tell the same joke an infinite number of ways. In this class, I’ll attempt to cram 20 years of comedy writing experience into three hours, during which I’ll show you all sorts of moves to try in the privacy of your own home.

Registration closed. 

Set Your Fiction on Fire taught by Kim Heacox 

When: April 18, 6-9pm

WhereWhere: Taku Graphics/Shorefast Editions 5723 Concrete Way

Genre: Fiction

Description: Working on a novel? Thinking about it? Looking for inspiration? A few ideas? Join Gustavus novelist Kim Heacox for a 3-hour-long workshop on how to improve your fiction. The author of JIMMY BLUEFEATHER (winner of the 2015 National Outdoor Book Award for creative fiction), Kim will discuss:

  1. character development: how to make one or more compelling character(s) that the readers care deeply for;
  2. using strong points-of-view (and shifting points-of-view) to further develop characters and the story;
  3. creating a plot that’s compelling, not corny;
  4. scene setting that adds tension by entering late and leaving early, and
  5. compelling dialogue that employs intelligence, color, morality, humor and wit

Each subject will cover about 30 minutes and involve short writing exercises and time for sharing. There will be an opening, a closing, and a 15-minute break in the middle. Kim will offer handouts and employ writing samples from Alaskan and non-Alaskan novelists, including Anthony Doerr, Charles Frazier, Chad Harbach, Seth Kantner, Eowyn Ivey and his own work, among others. Above all, he aims to make this workshop fun and illuminating. We hope to see you there.

Registration Closed

ONLINE CLASSES

Craft Intensive: Masterful Writing taught by Deb Vanasse 

3 one-hour online meetings plus asynchronous online activities

When: Jan. 26 – Feb. 15. One-hour online meetings would be on Tuesday nights, 7 – 8 pm AST.

Genre: fiction and nonfiction

Description: Ready to take your writing to the next level? In this three-week Craft Intensive, you’ll work with author and editor Deb Vanasse to identify areas in which you want to improve, then implement strategies for honing your craft. As part of the process, you’ll undertake a guided study of the techniques used by the writers you most admire. While much of the work in this course is individualized, we’ll meet weekly online and by telephone to share inspiration and ideas.

Students need internet access and a Google account.

Class now in session – registration closed.

Flash Fiction taught by Katey Schultz

4 week asynchronous (12 hours minimum) – one optional video chat – fiction

When: February 29-April 3

Genre: fiction

Registration Closed

Flashbacks Without Whiplash: Managing Time in Fiction by Andromeda Romano-Lax 

Asynchronous online class

When: April 4-25

Genre: Fiction

Registration Closed

DANGER CLOSE: ALASKA

February 6 and 7, 2016 from 9am to 4pm (total of 12 hours)

Location: The Boardroom (601 W 5th Ave in Anchorage)

Authors Sherry Simpson, Benjamin Busch, Elliott Ackerman, and Lea Carpenter will lead a two-day multi-genre workshop for 24 evenly-apportioned civilian and veteran writers. Students will learn about journalism in unsafe places, discuss why storytelling exists, view multimedia explorations of war narrative, and question what it takes to “make it” as a writer. Most importantly, students will participate in workshops featuring their own writing, in addition to generating new material.

Danger Close: Alaska will run from 9am-4pm, with an hour for lunch, on both days. Cost is $150 total and will require the completion of the mandatory questionnaire, and the submission of a 3-5 page double-spaced manuscript by January 29, 2016. (Manuscript does not have to be a completed, published piece of writing, nor does it have to be war related.)

IMPORTANT: You must fill out this Mandatory Questionnaire immediately to complete your registration.

Required: email a 3-5 page manuscript (double-spaced in 12 point font) by January 30 to 49writers@gmail.com. Please contact us at that email or at 907-491-1001 with any questions or concerns.

Learn more about Elliott Ackerman, Benjamin Busch, Lea Carpenter, and Sherry Simpson. 

WORKSHOP IS FULL, Thank you for your interest. If you would like to be put on a last-minute wait list, please email 49writers@gmail.com. 

Draft Schedule (subject to change)

Saturday

0900-0945: Check In, Introductions and Administrivia

1000-1045: “We Tell Ourselves Story in Order to Live” Craft Talk, Sherry and Lea

Story telling is as old as humanity itself, and informs our knowledge of both where we came from and we are, even today. What drives the need to create stories from the world around us? Is there a difference in the types of stories that can be told, by genre?

1100-1145: New Material Workshops

Use writing exercises to develop fresh material

Lea/Elliot/Sherry/Ben each assigned cross-genre group of 5-6

1200-1300: Lunch

1300-1345: “I Wouldn’t Go There”  Moderated (Lea) Panel Discussion, Ben and Elliot and Sherry

From war-torn countries to bear country, the three authors have put themselves in harm’s way to get the story. This panel will get after what it takes to tell the story, and how the story may have either changed itself or the perspectives of the authors.

1400-1600: Manuscript Workshops (All workshops cross-genre)

Sunday

0900-0945: “What’s Your Story” Moderated (Sherry) Panel Discussion, Ben and Elliot and Lea and Matt

The four writers range from novice (Matt) to expert (everyone else), but all four are or have produced war-themed work. This panel will discuss why each chose to explore war through writing, lessons along the way, and what the future holds.

1000-1200: Manuscript Workshop

1200-1300: Lunch

1300-1400: Ben Multimedia – TBD, either short film + Q&A, or photography as narrative presentation

1400-1600: Student Manuscript Readings and Farewell