Let Skagway inspire you


(updated 05/24/24)

Final Schedule, subject to change


The 14th annual

North Words Writers Symposium 

May 29-June 1, 2024

We are accepting the first 40 participants who register and then will start a wait list. REGISTER by May 15! After it closes, we will take a few daily registrations. Email us for details.



Jamie Ford (keynote author)

Lily H. Tuzroyluke • Daryl Farmer • Melinda Moustakis

Don Rearden • Christine Byl • John Messick

Aiders and Abettors (Organizing Faculty): Jeff Brady, Katrina Woolford, Daniel Henry, Katie Craney, Kent Fielding, X̱’unei Lance Twitchell, Mandy Ramsey.



See our TRAVEL page for updated information on how to get to Skagway May 28-29. 


We will have online sign-ups this year for Faculty Consultations, Workshops, Participant Readings, and some menus and group activities. Sign-up begins May 9-10 after registered participants receive an email with google links to the sign-up forms.


Wednesday, May 29 – Day 1

Optional Activities

1) Yoga Nidra with Mandy Ramsey – 1:00-2:00 PM at Arctic Brotherhood Hall.  More details forthcoming. Sign up online and bring your own mat or blanket to spread out on floor. If you need to borrow a mat, let us know.

2) Bike Rentals – Sign up online for voucher for an all-day bike rental Wednesday sponsored by Sockeye Cycle (5th b/w Broadway & State)


3) Red Onion Saloon Brothel Tour (available any day, choose your time). Voucher in your packet – check at RO after you arrive for daily tour schedule and pick your time. Sponsored by Red Onion Saloon (2nd & Broadway)

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3:30 – 4:30 PM • Early Bird Book Signing with Participant Authors

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

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3:30-5:00 PM   –   Participant & Faculty Check-in & Packet Pickups
AB Hall conference room • Broadway between 2nd & 3rd

For those arriving on Alaska Fjordlines or on late flights, packets will be available at the opening reception.

4:30-5:00 PM  –  Faculty Meeting
AB Hall conference room • Broadway between 2nd & 3rd

5:00 – 6:00 PM • Organizing Faculty Book Signing

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

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7:00 – 9:00 PM  –  Opening Reception at BrewCo

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

Food & First Drink Provided 

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Thursday, May 30 – Day 2


6:45 – 7:55 AM  –  Early Bird Workshop at Library

Skagway Public Library • 8th & State

 (register online in advance, choose poetry or prose)

Workshop: Harvesting the Details

How to set up the room, space, landscape, etc. for the poem or story you want to tell.

Poetry group led by Don Rearden and Kent Fielding

Prose group led by Daryl Farmer and Melinda Moustakis

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Thursday at AB Hall

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

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

Jaime Bricker, Skagway Tribal Council president

Organizing Faculty, Everyone

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9:00-10:15 AM – Opening Panel

Narrative Bridges: Writing Across Cultures

Pondering preparation for writing about cultures beyond your own, including research beyond the page. Thoughts about being a ‘Story catcher’ without writing like a voyeur. Introduction by Dan.

In Memory of Brian Doyle, Father Michael Oleska, and Nora & Richard Dauenhauer

Panel: Jamie, Don, Lily, Christine

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 (Morning Stretch during break led by Mandy Ramsey)

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10:30 – 11:45 AM  – Small Town Tales: Trivial or Universal?

The stream of small stories in a rural community can feed your imagination, but how will distant readers relate? How do rural writers shine light for urban readers without getting lost in the weeds?

Panel: Lily, Don, Melinda, Christine

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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

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12:45  – 1:45 PM  – Book Signing: Jamie Ford, Keynote author of The Many Daughters of Afong Moy, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, other titles

Skaguay News Depot & Books – across Broadway from AB Hall

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2:00 – 2:30 PM– Participant Readings #1

Individual readings of no more than 5-6 minutes (limit of 5 readers in this slot, sign up online)

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2:30 – 3:30 PM – First, Final, Foremost: Where to Start, How to End, and What’s Important*

Will you begin at the beginning? Conclude at the conclusion?

* Includes breakout writing exercise

Panel: Christine lead, John, Daryl, Dan

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3:30 – 5:00 PM – Faculty Consultations

AB Hall or other arranged locations

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

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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

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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)

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Friday, May 31 – Day 3


Friday at AB Hall

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

Organizing Faculty, 49 Writers

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8:45- 9:15 AM – Participant Readings #2

Individual readings of no more than 5-6 minutes (limit of 5 readers in this slot, sign up online)

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9:30 AM – 10:45 AM  – Settler’s Fantasy: Ways to Escape, Exploit, or Call It Out

What is it and how aware do Alaskan writers need to be?

Reference: Alaska Myth podcast led by Tia Tidwell, Inupiaq professor at UAF (listen at https://www.buzzsprout.com/2209768/13803576)

Panel: Don lead, Lily, Melinda

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11:00 AM – 12:00 Noon – Weaving Historical Details into a Magic Carpet

How a thousand loose ends may be woven into a strong storyline.

Panel: Melinda lead, Jamie, Lily, Jeff

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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

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

12:30-1 • Lily Tuzroyluke and Melinda Moustakis

1-1:30 • Don Rearden and Christine Byl

1:30-2 • Daryl Farmer and John Messick

Skaguay News Depot & Books – across Broadway from AB Hall

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2:15 – 2:30 PM  – A message from your body

Led by Mandy Ramsey

Reflection, Breathe, Release

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2:30 PM – 3:45 PM  –  The Saddest Pleasure: Travel Writing Beyond the Straight Facts *

Discovering the heart’s voice, the richness of other voices, your authentic voice.

* Includes breakout writing exercise

Panel: Daryl lead, John, Don

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Free time

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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

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Saturday, June 1 – Day 4




 Sponsored by White Pass & Yukon Route

(hiking part weather permitting)

Sign up in advance! Dress for being outdoors & bring water.

 (sack brunch provided – pre-order form from Glacial Coffeehouse – coffee on train)

7:15 AM – SMART Bus pickup from hotels for ride to 10th Street Loading Platform

7:55 AM – Train departs platform

8:30-11 AM – Split into 3-4 groups: Write by fire pit with Dan, Hike and write with Christine and John; Hike with a guide, no writing; and possibly Hiking and yoga with Mandy.

11:20 AM – Return to Skagway on train. Walk back to hotels or downtown. (SMART bus by request).


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Saturday afternoon sessions at AB Hall

1:30 – 2:30 PM – Heal Me, O Story: The Healing Power of Stories *

Start with the place where you most need to heal; the universal will follow.

* followed by breakout sessions incorporating art pieces

Panel: John lead, Lily, Dan – Katrina & Katie workshop leaders

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(Afternoon Stretch during break led by Mandy)

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2:40 – 4:45 PM– Participant Readings #3
Individual readings of no more than 5-6 minutes (priority given to those who have not yet read – sign up online before conference)

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Free time

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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 – specialty menu upon request)

First drink on North Words 6-6:30 – Dinner begins at 6:30

Welcome by Skagway Traditional Council & Municipality of Skagway representatives

Keynote by Jamie Ford following dinner at approximately 8:00 PM

Off Book to follow in downtown Skagway