Let Skagway inspire you

Let Skagway inspire you

Let Skagway inspire you

Let Skagway inspire you

Let Skagway inspire you


12th annual

North Words Writers Symposium Schedule

Sept. 3 – Sept. 5, 2021 

(we hope to use many of these same panels and faculty for the 2022 conference, stay tuned through the winter ) 


(OR a negative test, details were emailed to registered participants Aug. 4)

IMPORTANT NOTE: We will have online sign-ups this year for Faculty Consultations, Workshops, Participant Readings, and certain Group Activities. Sign-up began in mid-August.  We are accepting the first 20 participants who register and then will start a wait list.  Be advised that masks will be required at all indoor gathering locations that we use.


Kim Heacox (keynote),

Marie Tozier, Hank Lentfer, Tina Ontiveros,

Caroline Van Hemert, Nancy Lord, M Jackson

Aiders and Abettors (Organizing Faculty & Special Guests): Jeff Brady, Katrina Woolford, Daniel Henry, Katie Craney, Kent Fielding, X̱’unei – Lance Twitchell, Leigh Newman.

Thursday, Sept. 2

Early arrivals may choose Alaska Seaplanes from Juneau any day, an Aug. 31 ferry, or a Sept. 2 Alaska Fjordlines boat. More info about discounts on the Travel page of our website.

3:30-4:30 PM • Earlybird Book Signing with Doug Pope, Linda Buckley, Kent Fielding, Jeff Brady, others.

Skaguay News Depot & Books – 208 Broadway, across from AB Hall


No Host Vegan Dinner and Poetry Slam at Olivia’s at Historic Skagway Inn

If you arrive early for North Words please join us for a fun evening of food and poetry. Bring a favorite poem or slam one of your own.

Historic Skagway Inn – 7th & Broadway

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Friday, Sept. 3 

10 AM – 12:30 PM – Early Arrivals Optional Activity
Bike Tour of Historic Dyea Townsite with Sockeye Cycle, guided by Katie Craney

Sign up before arrival • 12-person maximum • Sponsored by Sockeye Cycle


(Ferry arrives at 2:15 pm, arrivals should go to place of lodging first, then proceed to conference headquarters at AB Hall)

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3:00 – 3:30 PM   – Faculty Meeting
AB Hall conference room • Broadway between 2nd & 3rd

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3:30 – 3:50 PM   – Final Registration, Participant Packet Pickups, Seating Arrangements
AB Hall conference room • Broadway between 2nd & 3rd

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4:00 PM Welcome! Announcements & Introductions 

X̱’unei – Lance Twitchell, Skagway Tribal Council

Organizing Faculty, Everyone

AB Hall conference room

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4:30 – 5:30 PM  Opening Panel: Caged and Creative

Writing through the Pandemic

Panel: Nancy, Kim, Marie, Jeff

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6:00 – 7:30 PM  – Opening Reception at BrewCo

Skagway Brewing, 4th b/w Broadway & Spring – Food & First Drink Provided 

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8:00 – 9:30 PM   –  Faculty Readings
Location: Eagles Hall Theatre with introduction by Soapy Smith • Open to public

Sponsored by the Days of ’98 Show • Eagles Hall, 6th & Broadway

(also open to public for viewing on Facebook Live)

——– ——–

Saturday, Sept. 4


6:45 – 7:55 AM  –  Early Bird Workshops (sign up for one)

Character: Pathways to your chosen people with Leigh and M

Memoir, memory, and the search for truth with Tina

Skagway Public Library – 8th & State

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8:00 AM – 8:30 AM –  Continental Breakfast, Seating & Announcements – AB Hall

Organizing Faculty, 49 Writers 

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Saturday Panels at AB Hall

8:30 – 9:30 AM  – We’re Still Here

Decolonizing readers through Indigenous Literary Voices

Panel: Marie and X̱’unei – Lance

—— ——

(Morning Stretch during break)

—— ——

9:45 – 10:45 AM – Speaking to an Existential Threat

Whether to rally the troops or reform the skeptics when writing about climate science

Panel: M, Kim, Hank, Nancy

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11:00 – 12 Noon – Storytelling as Medicine

Catching stories to heal the world.

Panel: Caroline, Tina, Marie

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12 Noon – 1:30 PM  – Lunch On Your Own!

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

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12:30 – 2:00 PM  –  All Faculty Book Signing (half hour shifts)

12:30-1 • Marie Tozier, Caroline Van Hemert, Tina Ontiveros

1-1:30 •  Nancy Lord and Hank Lentfer

1:30-2 • Kim Heacox and M Jackson

Skaguay News Depot & Books – across Broadway from AB Hall

—— ——

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM   – Writing Enlightening Biography

How to bring people back to life

Panel: Hank, Kent, Tina, Nancy

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3:15 PM – 4:45 PM  –  Faculty Consultations

AB Hall or other arranged locations 

Half-hour sessions with Alaska/NW faculty; sign up before conference

—— ——

Evening Hoedown Schedule

5:30 PM  –  Van/Shuttle Pickups for ride to Alderworks in Dyea
Pickup locations: White House (8th & Main),  Morning Wood (4th & State), Sgt. Preson’s (6th & State), Skagway Inn (7th & Broadway)

Courtesy of SMART Bus

6:30 – 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 Mina and the Windy Valley Leftovers

8:30 PM  –  Vans/Shuttle departs Alderworks for Skagway
Drop off locations: 8th & Main , 4th & State, 6th & State, 7th & Broadway

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Sunday, Sept. 5

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM –  Continental Breakfast, Seating & Announcements – AB Hall

——– ——– 

8:30 – 9:30 AM   – The Writer’s Role in the Age of Disinformation and Upheaval

Facing pandemics, politics, and other disasters – setting the story straight

Panel: Kim, Hank, Caroline, M

—— —— 

(Morning Stretch during break)

—— ——

10:00 – 11:30 AM–  Participant Readings 
Individual readings of no more than 6-8 minutes

Sign up before conference

——– ——–

Sunday Afternoon Workshop/Activity Schedule

We will lunch in the Garden area behind the Red Onion Saloon, then break into two groups for afternoon workshops (sorry, Burro Creek Waterfall trip will have to wait till next year)

  1 PM – 3 PM  –  Outdoor Workshops or Hike (sign up for one)

Poetry workshop with Marie in the RO Garden

Nature/science writing workshop with Caroline & Nancy at Pullen Shoreline Park

OR optional hike with Kent to Smuggler’s Cove or Lower Dewey Lake

(alternate locations TBA if weather prevents us from being outside)

Sponsored by Burro Creek Waterfall Lodge / Red Onion Saloon

——– ——–

Rest of afternoon free to explore or shop in downtown Skagway, go for a short hike, or rest up before evening.

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Evening Keynote Banquet Schedule 

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM  – Closing Banquet at Starfire

Welcome by Mayor Andrew Cremata, Municipality of Skagway

Keynote Address by Kim Heacox

On the Deck at Starfire (4th & Spring)

Off Book to follow in downtown Skagway

—— —— 

Monday, Sept. 6

Happy Labor Day! 

Updated Travel Info: Alaska Seaplanes has 4 scheduled departures on Monday (see Travel page for more info), and there is a Ferry departing Skagway for Haines/Juneau at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

(sorry Alaska Fjordlines has told us they will not be operating Monday; if this changes we will let you know)


Possible Optional Activity TBA if there are enough people staying in Skagway on Monday