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PLU MFA Program presents Alaskan writers at Richard Hugo House

April 3, 2012

PLU MFA Program presents Alaskan writers at Richard Hugo House

Four writers from Alaska, including Peggy Shumaker, the Alaska State Writer Laureate, will read from their new books at 7 p.m., Monday, April 9, at Richard Hugo House: 1634 11th Ave, Seattle, Wash. The event is free and open to the public.

Shumaker, who will host the Seattle launch of the Alaska Literary Series for the University of Alaska Press, says, “Please join us for a lively evening of fresh new writing from the far north.” The Alaska Literary Series of the University of Alaska Press publishes three titles a year in poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction that has a strong connection to Alaska or the circumpolar north, making the northern experience available to the world.

Alaska Literary Series poster

The event is sponsored by the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA Program at PLU. It is the Seattle-area official launch of the Alaska Literary Series of the University of Alaska Press.

The readers for the event are:

  • Joan Kane, The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife
    A young Iñupiaq poet whose work speaks to the upheaval of families exiled from their ancestral lands, Kane was educated at Harvard and Columbia universities and now lives in Anchorage. Her poems’ syncopated cadences and evocative images bring to life the exceptional physical and cultural conditions of the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions that have been home to her ancestors ten thousand years.
  • Amber Flora Thomas, The Rabbits Could Sing
    Thomas’s first book, Eye of Water: Poems, won the Cave Canem Prize. Her poetry invites us into a world thick with the lush bounty of summer in the Far North, where the present is never far from the shadow of the past. She teaches at University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  • Nicole Stellon-O’Donnell, Steam Laundry
    Stellon-O’Donnell found a cache of letters to and from one of the first women to arrive in Fairbanks during the Gold Rush. From these letters grew a novel in verse form, the latest title from Boreal Books. She will speak about her research in the Alaska and Polar Regions collection and how that work turned into a book of poems. She is the winner of a Rasmuson Foundation grant, and teaches AP English at Lathrop High School.
  • Peggy Shumaker, reading from Marjorie Kowalski Cole’s The City Beneath the Snow
    Shumaker will give voice to excerpts from Cole’s last book, published posthumously. This final collection of stories from an award-winning writer offers portraits of contemporary Alaskans. Some readers will know Cole’s novel Correcting the Landscape, chosen by Barbara Kingsolver for the Bellwether Prize.

The Alaska Literary Series is edited by Peggy Shumaker. She is the founder of Boreal Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press, which publishes literature and fine art from Alaska. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and has served as poet-in residence at the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell and as the president of the board of directors of the AWP. Professor emerita from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Shumaker teaches at the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University, and at many writing conferences and festivals, and currently serves as the Alaska State Writer Laureate.

The Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University is the Northwest’s premier low-residency MFA in Creative Writing. An innovative, three-year, four-residency program, it provides writers with a unique means to develop their writing, working with an outstanding faculty of writers and editors drawn from all over the United States.

Richard Hugo House fosters writers and engages the Pacific Northwest in the world of writing by means of classes, residencies and events.