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 

(updated first-look schedule, subject to change, check again in summer) 


(some exceptions allowed, watch for details in waiver emailed to registered participants)

IMPORTANT NOTE: We will have online sign-ups this year for Faculty Consultations, Workshops, Participant Readings, and certain Group Activities. Sign-up will begin as schedule firms up mid-summer and after registrants receive an email. Currently we are accepting the first 20 participants who register and then will start a wait list in the hope that we will be allowed to add up to 40 some time in July. Masks currently are required at all indoor gathering locations that we use.

Faculty: Tommy Orange (keynote),

Marie Tozier, Hank Lentfer, Tina Ontiveros,

Kim Heacox, M Jackson,

Caroline Van Hemert 


Aiders and Abettors (Organizing Faculty): Jeff Brady, Katrina Woolford, Daniel Henry, Katie Craney, Kent Fielding

Thursday, Sept. 2

Early arrivals may choose Alaska Seaplanes from Juneau any day, an Aug. 31 ferry, or a Sept. 1 Alaska Fjordlines boat. More info about discounts on the Travel page of our website.


No Host Vegan Dinner and Poetry Slam at 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.

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Friday, Sept. 3 

TIME TBA – Early Arrivals Optional Activity
Bike Tour with Sockeye Cycle 

(Ferry arrives at 2:15 pm, arrivals should go to place of lodging first, then proceed to conference headquarters at AB Hall, Broadway between 2nd & 3rd)

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3:00 – 3:30 PM   – Faculty Meeting
AB Hall conference room

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3:30 – 3:50 PM   – Final Registration, Participant Packet Pickups, Seating Arrangements
AB Hall conference room

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4:00 PM Welcome! Announcements & Introductions 

Skagway Tribal Council, Organizing Faculty, Everyone

AB Hall conference room

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4:30 – 5:30 PM  Opening Panel: Jack London’s Long Shadow

Disputing and transforming the legacy of racism in N. American literature.

Panel: Tommy, Jeff, Marie, Kim

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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 NPS Auditorium or alternate location

(open to public for viewing on Facebook Live)


Off Book to follow at Red Onion Saloon

——– ——–

Saturday, Sept. 4


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

Character: Pathways to your chosen people with 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, Tommy, and a local tribal member TBA

—— ——

(Morning Stretch during break)

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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, Caroline

—— ——

11:00 – 12 Noon – Storytelling as Medicine

Catching stories to heal the world.

Panel: Caroline, Tina, Marie

—— ——

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

—— ——

1:00 – 2:00 PM  –  Book Signing: Tommy Orange, keynote author

Skaguay News Depot & Books – across Broadway from AB Hall

(other faculty book signings & method TBA)

—— ——

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

How to bring people back to life

Panel: Hank, Kent, Tina 

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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

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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 TBA

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

——– ——–

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, M, Caroline

—— —— 

(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 Burro Creek Activity Schedule


12 Noon  –  Van/Shuttle Pickup at AB Hall for ride to Small Boat Harbor
Pre-ordered box lunches/pizza will be delivered to AB Hall and then we will board buses to the boat harbor. There will be two boat trips across Skagway bay to Burro Creek.

1 PM – 3 PM  –  Burro Creek Waterfall Lodge & Poetry Workshop

Hike to the waterfalls and gather on the lawn or in the lodge for a poetry workshop with Marie or a nature/science writing workshop with Caroline

Sponsored by Burro Creek Waterfall Lodge / Red Onion Saloon

3:15-4:15 PM  –  Return on boats to Skagway 

SMART Shuttle will pick up: Drop off locations: 8th & Main , 4th & State,

6th & State, 7th & Broadway

——– ——–

Evening Keynote Banquet Schedule 

(location not yet finalized but we plan to be back at Jewell Gardens)


5:45 PM  – Shuttles depart Skagway hotels for closing banquet at Jewell Gardens 

Pickup locations: White House (8th & Main), Sgt. Preston’s (6th & State), Morning Wood (4th & State), Skagway Inn (7th & Broadway)

Courtesy of SMART Bus

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM  – Closing Banquet with Keynote by Tommy Orange (interview with Nancy Lord)

Poppies at Jewell Gardens or alternate location TBA

9:00 PM  –  Vans/Shuttle departs Jewell Gardens

Drop off locations: 8th & Main , 4th & State, 6th  & State, 7th & Broadway

Off Book to follow in downtown Skagway

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Monday, Sept. 6

Happy Labor Day! 


Shuttle to Skagway Small Boat Harbor for Alaska Fjordlines:


SMART shuttle pickup at hotels begins at 7:15 am

Skagway to Juneau: Depart Skagway 8:00am, arrive Juneau/Yankee Cove 10:45, bus to airport or downtown.

Also, Alaska Seaplanes departures daily and there is a Ferry on Tuesday, Sept. 7