It’s back: Writers’ Conference returns

Anyone who’s tried their hand at writing shortly discovers two key traits important to the artwork and craft: perseverance and resiliency. That holds true for the twentieth Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, again dwell and in individual subsequent month after a 12 months hiatus to regroup and one other 12 months held just about in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The registration charge is $400 by means of April 30 and will increase to $450 after that, house accessible.

Held for its first 19 years at Land’s End Resort on the Homer Spit, the convention runs Saturday, May 14, by means of Tuesday, May 17 at a brand new location. Sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Campus, Kenai Peninsula College-University of Alaska Anchorage, it has these modifications:

• A brand new time the week after the top of the UAA semester in mid-May as a substitute of mid-June;

• A brand new location on the Kachemak Bay Campus on Pioneer Avenue within the coronary heart of Homer;

• Encouraging extra variety in each college students and school:

• Encouraging extra of a reference to faculty and highschool college students, and

• An choice for individuals who can not attend in individual the chance to view for one month recordings of all periods.

University officers in September 2019 put the occasion on maintain for 2020 on account of lowered college funding imposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in that 12 months’s Procrustean finances.

In a press launch then asserting the postponement, KBC Director Reid Brewer stated the hiatus would “provide campus leadership an opportunity to review the conference’s purpose and scope, and to make changes necessary for its continued success.”

In March of 2020, KBC employed Homer poet Erin Coughlin Hollowell to run the convention. Providentially, with the convention on hiatus proper because the pandemic shut down workplaces and tightly restricted journey, organizers didn’t must cancel it. In 2021 the convention met just about.

Moving the convention from the top of the Spit to downtown Homer will assist scale back prices. The convention has gotten help from the Caroline Musgrave Coons endowment, donor funding and registration charges. Holding the convention with catered meals at a resort resort incurred contractor prices, Brewer stated.

“The hope is that we can offset some of the costs that have been associated with the conference in the past and make that connection with Homer and the greater downtown area,” he stated.

Holding the occasion downtown and near purchasing, bars, eating places, the Homer Public Library and the Pratt Museum & Park will result in extra interplay with the city, Hollowell stated.

“To me it’s a way to get the people who come to the conference into the community and see what Homer’s like, and get local writers who are passionate about community and be able to share that,” she stated.

This 12 months’s convention options Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown because the keynote speaker. He’s joined by novelist Marcus Burke, poet Victoria Chang, author Christina Chiu, poet and author CMarie Fuhrman, author Toni Jensen and author Marie Mutsuki Mockett. Editor Tynan Kogane and literary agent Anjali Singh present a publishing perspective. Alaska State Writer Laureate Heather Lende will attend and in addition will give the closing discuss on Tuesday.

Open-to-the-public occasions embrace a studying by Brown at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 14, on the Mariner Theatre; readings by Burke, Fuhrman and Mockett at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at Alice’s Champagne Palace, and readings at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 16, on the Kachemak Bay Campus. Hollowell stated Brown is a dynamic speaker.

“Jericho is an amazing, amazing, warm, funny, outgoing, interactive person,” she stated. “He’s going to be a nice way for us all to get back together. He’s going to make us feel warm and welcome.”

The format of craft talks by authors will proceed, however after suggestions from previous individuals, this 12 months the massive panel discussions might be lowered to two-speaker conversations.

“They (past participants) felt like panels are a little weighty,” Hollowell stated. “It’s like watching three people stare at each other while they talk.”

Four native writers additionally add a brand new twist to the convention: “Classes in the Community” workshops held off campus and at venues round city. Children’s e book author Ann Dixon, a former Homer Public Library director, will do a chat in — the place else? — the kids’s part of the library. Nature author and birder Nancy Lord does a birding stroll at Beluga Slough to see shorebirds, geese, geese and cranes, make naturalist notes and compose a poem or quick reflection.

Homer City Council member and author Donna Aderhold takes individuals to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to discover the middle and the Discovery Lab, share observations and write about it. Pratt Museum & Park author in residence Marilyn Sigman — who lately went to New York to choose up her 2020 Burrows Prize for her e book, “Entangled” — will lead a tour of the museum and speak about writing narratives about pure and cultural objects from numerous views.

In a somber notice, the convention additionally holds a memorial for previous school members Frank Soos and Sherry Simpson, who died because the final dwell occasion. The remembrance will provide individuals who knew the writers an opportunity to honor them by means of readings of their works.

Past conferences gained reward for a way writers got here collectively — many returning 12 months after 12 months — to make a neighborhood. Hollowell stated the brand new venue will permit that to occur. Past conferences had catered meals and field lunches, however the one actual place to collect was on the resort bar. This 12 months, the convention has invited native meals vans to park on the KBC lot. Most of the talks and workshops might be held in Pioneer Hall or Bayview Hall. The vibrant, ethereal commons in Pioneer Hall with a view of Kachemak Bay makes an important house for folks to fulfill.

“There’s plenty of space inside to actually talk with people in a relaxed setting. That space is gorgeous. There are picnic tables outside,” Hollowell stated. “It will be a way to make it so people are able to talk without having a drink to do it.”

As the world eases out of the pandemic with vaccines and higher remedies to a way of normalcy, the convention might be held underneath college COVID-19 protocols. That contains higher air air flow, diligent sanitation measures like cleansing earlier than and after occasions, and the supply of hand sanitizer and face masks. Mask-wearing is non-obligatory. Attendance is capped at 75, half the same old variety of 150 at previous conferences, to permit folks to unfold out extra.

This would be the first massive occasion on the campus because the pandemic, Brewer stated, and take a look at run for future lecture-style shows.

Hollowell stated she needs Homer to know the convention is a part of the neighborhood.“ We want it to be a place where writers come and continue to come, and have been for years,” she stated. “… I think this is going to have a good vibe. It’s going to have a chance to get back together again and remember that writing is a human endeavor. It’s going to be good.”

To register for the convention and be taught extra, go to

Reach Michael Armstrong at

Jericho Brown is the keynote speaker at the 25th Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. (Photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University News Office)

Jericho Brown is the keynote speaker on the twenty fifth Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. (Photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University News Office)

Writer Toni Jensen is part of the visiting faculty teaching at the 25th Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference. (Photo provided)

Jericho Brown is the keynote speaker on the twenty fifth Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. (Photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University News Office)

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