Let Skagway inspire You

May 29-June 1, 2019 | Keynote Author: Susan Orlean


Let Skagway inspire You

 May 29-June 1, 2019 | Keynote Author: Susan Orlean

Let Skagway inspire You

May 29-June 1, 2019 | Keynote Author: Susan Orlean


“Exploring the Frontiers of Language”

2019 Keynote Speaker

Click on each author for a short biography.

2019 Faculty Members

Click on each author for a short biography.

Organizing Faculty

Panel Discussion Topics 2019

2019 North Words Panel Topics

From Start to Finish or the Other Way Around: The many ways to tell a story. 

This happens and then this happens and then this happens… then what happens?

History, Herstory, Ourstory: Who owns the past anyway?

Memory is fallible. Records can be faked. What’s a writer to do?

Writing to Make Things Happen: Moving readers from their seats to the streets.

Motives, messages, means & memes for transformation.

Getting Read:Telling your story to the most readers in your best voice.

What’s the catch? Who gets caught? How do you keep ‘em and catch more?

Great Land Voices: Foundations and futures in Alaskan literature

To those who got us here and those who would lead us ahead.

Foiled: Writing beyond generalizations of gender, class, and culture.

Can rich, white men write well about poor minority women?

Getting Away with It: Making the most of stupid tourist stories.

Don’t let your Alaskan expertise get in the way of telling a good story.

Resonations: How underutilized events in Alaskan history and culture comprise some of the greatest tales never told.

Writing with subsurface rights. 

Over-Heroed: Does the hero’s journey still have traction among modern readers?

Creating compelling, timeless characters in challenging situations.

Hard Work in Print: Translating drudgery to the page.

Considering the authenticity of sweat, soreness, and duty.

Faculty Publications

Alaska/NW Faculty 2019 Selected Works

These authors will be signing books following the Faculty Reading on Thursday night.



Blonde Indian, an Alaska Native Memoir • The Tao of Raven



Lawn Boy • West of Here • The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving • This Is Your Life Harriet Chance! • All About Lulu



ph: A Novel • Made of Salmon: Alaska Stories from the Salmon Project • Early Warming: Crisis and Response in the Climate-Changed North • Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life • Beluga Days: Tracking the Endangered White Whale • The Man Who Swam with Beaver



The Raven’s Gift • Never Quit (with Jimmy Settle)



Liveaboard  • Freshly Rooted • Breaking Into Air:  Birth Poems (forthcoming) • Letters from Mary • With Reverence


Fighting for the 49th Star • E.T. Barnette • Crooked Past • Banking in Alaska • Swiftwater Bill Gates

North Words Writers Symposium Schedule

May 29 – June 1, 2019 

 Faculty: Susan Orlean, Emily Wall, Ernestine Hayes, Don Rearden, Jonathan Evison, Nancy Lord, Terrence Cole

Aiders and Abettors: Buckwheat Donahue, Katrina Woolford, Jeff Brady, Daniel Henry, John Straley, Jess Callies, Kent Fielding.

Tuesday, May 28


 Readings around the Fire Pit at Pullen Park Gazebo on Congress Way hosted by John Straley

John interviews 91-year-old Skagway resident Bea Hillery Lingle, Story time by Dan Henry, “The Last Man Robbed by Soapy Smith” by Jeff Brady, a Yukon story by Maureen Long, and a general Buckwheat Donahue love fest  (missing you this year big guy). Adjourn to The Red Onion Saloon.

Wednesday, May 29 

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM   – Faculty Meeting
AB Hall conference room

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM   – Registration & Author Consultation Sign-up
Westmark Inn Lounge – 3rd & Spring

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM  – Opening Reception & Special Readers Theatre

Westmark Inn Lounge, 3rd & Spring – Food & First Drink Provided 

 7:45 PM – Blue Ticket – Ferries/Fairies Out of Alaska”  selected scenes from a 2-act play by Maureen “Mo” Longworth, a North Words veteran, with cast members from Juneau and elsewhere. The play is a historical fiction based on over 50 interviews, woven into a mystery romance of what happened in Juneau in 1963. Semifinalist at San Francisco Bay Area Playwright Festival

Thursday, May 30 

6:45 AM – 7:55 AM  –  Early Bird Workshop with Emily Wall
Skagway Public Library – 8th & State

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM  –  Continental Breakfast, Sign-ups & Late Registration

Sign up for consultations, participant readings, & train ride/trail write

Arctic Brotherhood (AB) Hall – 2nd & Broadway


Special Art Show by Katie Craney • Landfalls: Dedications to Alaska Women Writers and Storytellers 

 Honoring 15 Alaska women including 2019 faculty members Ernestine Hayes and Nancy Lord

 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM  Welcome!  –  Announcements & Introductions 

Skagway Tribal Council, Organizing Faculty, Everyone

AB Hall – 2nd & Broadway 

Thursday Morning Panels at AB Hall

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM  – From Start to Finish and the Other Way Around: The many ways to tell a story. 

This happens and then this happens—then what? 

Panel: Susan, Don, Nancy, Ernestine, Jonathan, Terrence, Emily

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM – History, Herstory, Ourstory: Whose past is it anyway? Who has the right to tell it?

Memory is fallible. Records can be faked. How do we come to consensus about what happened in the past? Does it matter? 

Panel: Ernestine,Terrence, Jonathan

11:30 AM – 2:00 PM  – Lunch On Your Own!

Discover local cuisine/menus at Skagway Visitor Center in AB Hall or visit www.skagway.com

1:00 – 2:00 PM  –  Book Signing: Susan Orlean, keynote author

Skaguay News Depot & Books – across Broadway from AB Hall 

2:00 PM – 3:15 PM   – Great Land Voices: Old and new in Alaskan literature

A toast to those who got us here and those who would lead us forward 

Panel: Don, Emily, Nancy, Ernestine, Terrence 

AB Hall – 2nd & Broadway 

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM  –  Faculty & Staff Consultations

AB Hall or other arranged locations 

Half-hour sessions with faculty and staff; sign up Wednesday-Thursday at registration 

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM  –  Dine out on your own in Skagway!

List of local restaurants/menus at Skagway Visitor Center at AB Hall or visit www.skagway.com  

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM   –  Faculty Readings
National Park Service Visitor Center Auditorium – 2nd & Broadway

followed by

8:30 – 9:30 PM  –  All Faculty Book Signing & Toasting 

Skaguay News Depot & Books – across Broadway from AB Hall

Friday, May 31

6:45 AM – 7:55 AM  –  Early Bird Workshop with Don Rearden
Skagway Public Library – 8th & State

Friday Morning Sessions at AB Hall

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM –  Continental Breakfast & Announcements

Organizing Faculty, 49 Writers 

8:30 AM – 9:10 AM  – Haiku! You’re Welcome!

John Straley, Emily Wall

9:15 AM – 9:25 AM  – And now this message from your body 

Led by Linda Buckley and Mandy Ramsey 

Reflection, Breathe, Release 

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM   – Over-Heroed: Has the hero/heroine’s journey been trodden too much? 

Creating compelling characters in challenging situations.

Panel: Jonathan, Nancy, Don

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM  – Writing to Make Things Happen: Moving readers from their seats to the streets. 

Motives, messages, means & memes for transformation 

Panel: Nancy, Dan, John

11:45 AM – 1:00 PM  Lunch on your own!

Friday Afternoon Sessions at Presbyterian Church Sanctuary – 5th & Main

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM  –  Participant Readings 
Individual readings of no more than 6-8 minutes

Sign up with Daniel Henry on Thursday morning

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM  – Getting Read: Telling the right story to the most readers in your best voice. 

Knowing your audience and where to meet them.

Panel: Susan, Jonathan

Evening Hoedown Schedule

 5:15 PM  –  Van/Shuttle Pickups for ride to Alderworks in Dyea
Pickup locations: White House (8th & Main),  Morning Wood (4th & State), Westmark (3rd & Spring), Skagway Inn (7th & Broadway)

6:00 PM – 8:30 PM  –  Hoedown at Alderworks!
Hosted & Sponsored by Alderworks Alaska Writers & Artists Retreat (1 West Creek Rd)

BBQ by the cabins and new studio, music by Jess & J Dot

8:30 PM  –  Vans/Shuttle departs Alderworks for Skagway
Drop off locations: 8th & Main , 4th & State, 7th & Broadway, 3rd & Spring

9:00 PM  –  Out of Book at Skagway Brewing Co.

Led by Dan and accomplices

Saturday, June 1 

Morning Train Ride and Trail Write Schedule


Hosted & Sponsored by White Pass & Yukon Route and Packer Expeditions

7:20 AM – Buses Depart to Train Station  (Fraser Train platform mid-town)
Pickup locations: White House (8th & Main),  Morning Wood (4th & State), Westmark (3rd & Spring), Skagway Inn (7th & Broadway) 

7:40 AM – Board White Pass & Yukon Route RR

8:30 AM – Disembark Train at Laughton Glacier Station

Entire party will then hike 1.5 miles on an easy trail to a U.S. Forest Service cabin, where our hosts, Packer Expeditions, will have a lunch for us. The group will then break in two. You will have a choice of a guided hike for another mile over moderate trail to the toe of Laughton Glacier, or you may stay on the cabin grounds for a Writing Session with Daniel Henry.

2:00 PM – Hike back from cabin to Laughton Glacier Station (arrive by 3:15 pm)

3:30 PM – Board WP&YR southbound train for return to Skagway

4:30 PM  –  Shuttle departs Train Station for Skagway hotels or you may walk

Evening Keynote Banquet Schedule 

5:45 PM  – Shuttles depart Skagway hotels for closing banquet at Poppies Restaurant 

Pickup locations: White House (8th & Main), Westmark (3rd & Spring), Morning Wood (4th & State), Skagway Inn (7th & Broadway)

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM  – Closing Banquet with Keynote by Susan Orlean
Poppies at Jewell Gardens (on Klondike Hwy. left after Skagway River bridge)

9:00 PM  –  Saturday Night in Skagway!