Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference returns to in-person

by Erin Hollowell, Director of Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference  |   

UAA leadership at the 2022 Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference.
UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (right) tours the Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) Kachemak Bay Campus (KBC) in Homer with KPC Director Cheryl Siemers and KBC Director Reid Brewer during the 2022 Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference. Chancellor Parnell delivered the conference's opening remarks as part of a larger visit to meet with students, faculty and staff at the community campus. (Photo courtesy of Weston Eiler / University of Alaska Anchorage)

The 2022 Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference returned to an in-person event this year and was held for the first time on the Kachemak Bay Campus May 14-17. Jericho Brown, 2020 Pulitzer Prize winning poet, winner of the American book award and a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award, was this year’s keynote speaker. Joining him were Marcus Burke, Victoria Chang, Christina Chiu, CMarie Fuhrman, Toni Jensen, literary editor Tynan Kogane, Marie Mutsuki Mockett and literary agent Anjali Singh. These award-winning writers joined forces to deliver 12 craft classes, four craft conversations, as well as readings and individual meetings.

Attendance at the conference was capped at 75 this year, of which almost 30% were University of Alaska students. Participants took part in craft classes such as “Combining the Personal and the Political: Weaving your Stories with the World’s News,” “Of Bonsais and Moons: On Making a Book of Poems” and “Pre-Writing to avoid Writer’s Block,” as well as craft conversations and faculty readings. Keynote Jericho Brown spoke about poetry and something broader than poetry, the way that writers can communicate more than what simple words might convey, the way the craft of writing makes words bigger. 

Participants also got out and about in the Homer community, embarking on a cruise of Kachemak Bay, learning with Nancy Lord how to identify shorebirds and to use detail in their writing, discovering with Marilyn Sigman what riches rest in the Pratt Museum’s archives and how such information can be incorporated into any type of writing, exploring the skills needed to write children’s books with Ann Dixon at the Homer Public Library, and delving into the natural riches of the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve with Donna Aderhold. 

Next year’s conference will be held May 13-16 and the keynote presenter will be award-winning nonfiction writer Robin Wall Kimmerer, scientist, decorated professor and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, which has earned Kimmerer wide acclaim.

To learn more about the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference and for upcoming details about next year’s event, please visit writersconf.kpc.alaska.edu.

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