Let Skagway inspire you

The 13th annual

North Words Writers Symposium Schedule

May 24–27, 2023

(5/15/23 updated schedule, subject to change)

IMPORTANT NOTE: We will have online sign-ups this year for Faculty Consultations, Workshops, Participant Readings, and some menus and group activities. Sign-up begins in early May after registrants receive an email. We are accepting the first 40 participants who register and then will start a wait list (currently at 27). Masking optional at indoor gathering locations that we use.



Karen Russell (keynote author)

Marybeth Holleman • M Jackson • Leigh Newman

Marie Tozier • Caroline Van Hemert • Emily Wall

Aiders and Abettors (Organizing Faculty):

Jeff Brady, Katrina Woolford, Daniel Henry, Katie Craney,

Kent Fielding, X̱’unei Lance Twitchell


Tuesday, May 23 (for early arrivals)

Early arrivals may choose Alaska Seaplanes from Juneau any day, the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry on May 22-23 (two sailings) or an Alaska Fjordlines boat on May 22. More info about discounts on the Travel page of our website.


(not enough interest – we will work on something there next year but please patronize the restaurant)

Historic Skagway Inn – 7th & Broadway

——– ——–

Wednesday, May 24 – Day 1

Early Arrivals Optional Activities

1) Bike Rental & Bike Tour of Skagway with Katie – (10-11:30 am Wed.)

Sign up online before arrival • Sponsored by Sockeye Cycle

2) Red Onion Saloon Brothel Tour (choose your time any day)

Voucher in your packet – check at RO after you arrive for daily tour schedule and pick your time.

Sponsored by Red Onion Saloon

—— ——

The Wednesday ferry arrives at 1:45 pm. Arrivals should go to place of lodging first, then proceed to conference headquarters at Arctic Brotherhood Hall (Broadway b/w 2nd & 3rd) to pick up packets from 3:45 to 5:00 pm.

—— ——

2:00-3:00 PM • Early Bird Book Signing with Participant Authors

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

—— ——

3:00 – 3:45 PM  –  Faculty Meeting
AB Hall conference room • Broadway between 2nd & 3rd

—— —— 

3:45-5:00 PM   –   Final Registration, Participant Packet Pickups
AB Hall conference room • Broadway between 2nd & 3rd

—— ——

6:00 – 7:30 PM  –  Opening Reception

Skagway Brewing Co., 4th b/w Broadway & Spring, enter through first floor bar to outside patio

Food & First Drink Provided 

—— ——

Thursday, May 25 – Day 2

6:45 – 7:55 AM  –  Early Bird Workshops

Skagway Public Library • 8th & State

 (register online in advance, choose one)

1) Workshop on Character – Pathways to your chosen people led by M and Leigh, or

2) Poetry Workshop led by Marie and Emily

—— ——

Thursday at AB Hall

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM – Continental Breakfast – AB Hall

—— ——

8:30 – 9:00 AM – Welcome! Announcements, Remembrances, Introductions 

X̱’unei Lance Twitchell, Skagway Tribal Council

Organizing Faculty, Everyone

—— ——

9:00-10:15 AM – Opening Panel:

In the Eye of the Raven: Ways of Seeing and Knowing

Perspective, point of view, and writing a world the way it means to be known

Panel: Caroline & Karen co-lead, other faculty welcome

—— ——

 (Morning Stretch during break led by Mandy & Linda)

—— ——

10:30 – 11:45 AM  – Nothing About Us Without Us

Writing with context and heart. Who made your story possible? Do you have permission to bring them in?

Panel: X̱’unei Lance, Marie, Dan or Jeff

—— ——

11:45 AM – 1:30 PM  – Lunch On Your Own!

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

—— ——

12:45  – 2:00 PM  – Book Signing: Karen Russell, Keynote author of Swamplandia, Orange World, other titles

Skaguay News Depot & Books – across Broadway from AB Hall

—— ——

2:00 – 3:15 PM – How Stories Keep Us Alive: Writing Through Loss Toward Reimagined Futures

Floating stories of healing and hope in the maw of the tsunami

Panel: M lead, Marybeth, Caroline, Marie

—— ——

3:30 – 5:00 PM – Faculty Consultations

AB Hall or other arranged locations 

Half-hour sessions with faculty and staff; sign up in advance

—— ——

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

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

—— ——

7:00 – 8:30 PM   –  Faculty Readings at Eagles Hall
Location: Eagles Hall Theatre • 6th & Broadway

Sponsored by the Days of ’98 Show & Skagway Arts Council


(also may be open to public for viewing on Facebook Live)

——– ——–

Friday, May 26 – Day 3

Friday at AB Hall

8:00 AM – 8:45 AM – Continental Breakfast, Announcements – AB Hall

Organizing Faculty, 49 Writers

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM  – A message from your body

Led by Linda Buckley & Mandy Ramsey

Reflection, Breathe, Release

—— ——

9:00 AM – 10:35 AM  – Writing the Neighborhood (Including Ghosts)

Place as an organizing principle, foil, or character. When where becomes who.

Followed by a generative workshop with Karen on writing ghost stories.

Panel: Marie lead, Leigh, M, Karen (workshop leader)

—— ——

10:45 AM – 12:00 Noon – Blending Genres: Searching for the Mix

When a single category is not enough. Even more when you are a collaborator, not just a perpetrator.

Panel: Emily lead, Marybeth, M, Katie

—— ——

12:00 Noon – 2:00 PM  – Lunch On Your Own!

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

—— ——

12:30 – 2:00 PM –  Faculty Book Signing

12:30-1 • M Jackson and Leigh Newman

1-1:30 • Marybeth Holleman and Emily Wall

1:30-2 • Marie Tozier and Caroline Van Hemert

Skaguay News Depot & Books – across Broadway from AB Hall

—— ——

2:15 PM – 4:00 PM  –  The Golden Staircase to Publication

Sustaining your climb toward print at long last

Panel: Katrina & Leigh co-lead with focus on agents/queries, then breakout workshops with M/Leigh (fiction), Emily/Marie (poetry), Caroline/Marybeth (non-fiction)

—— ——

Evening Alderworks BBQ Schedule

5:30 PM –  Van/Shuttle Pickups for ride to Alderworks in Dyea
Pickup locations: White House (8th & Main),  Morning Wood (4th & State), Skagway Inn (7th & Broadway), Westmark (3rd & Spring).

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 & music by the cabins and studio

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

——– ——–

Saturday, May 27 – Day 4

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM – Coffee/tea service at AB Hall, then we will walk or shuttle to Skagway Small Boat Harbor for


 Sponsored by AlaskaX & Burro Creek Waterfall Lodge

Sign up in advance! Dress for boat ride & being outdoors.

 (sack lunch provided – pre-order form from Glacial Espresso)

8:45 AM – Boat leaves for Burro Creek, across bay from Skagway

9:30-10:30 AM – Hike to falls, write on the grounds

10:30-11:45 AMRounding the Human Corners: Finding How We Fit in a World Far Richer than We Conceive

People are only part of the picture. Which places still need to be addressed? Writing exercise follows.

Panel: Marybeth lead (writing coach), Leigh, Caroline, Emily

12 NOON – Boat leaves for Skagway


—— ——

Saturday afternoon sessions at AB Hall

1:30 – 2:30 PM – Writing Despite It All: Balancing Your Creative Vision with Family, Work, and the Box of Distractions

Trust the vision and the time you need to sculpt it.

Panel: Leigh lead, Caroline, Emily

—— ——

(Afternoon Stretch during break led by Mandy & Linda)

—— ——

2:40 – 4:15 PM– Participant Readings 
Individual readings of no more than 6-8 minutes

Sign up before conference.

——– ——–

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

——– ——–

Saturday Evening Keynote Banquet Schedule 

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM  – Closing Banquet at Westmark Hotel’s Glacial Lounge (upstairs)

(Dinner menu emailed to participants/faculty)

Welcome by Skagway Traditional Council & Municipality of Skagway representatives

Keynote by Karen Russell following dinner at approximately 8:00 PM

Off Book to follow in downtown Skagway