Paul Theroux, perhaps the best-known American travel writer with something like 50 books to his credit, will be the keynote speaker at the eighth annual North Words Writers Symposium, May 31-June 3, 2017, in Skagway. Theroux's output includes oft-quoted classics including "The Great Railway Bazaar," "The Old Patagonia Express" and "The Mosquito Coast." By the time he arrives in Skagway his latest book, a novel titled "Mother Land," will be out.
Unless things have changed in the last three years, this will be Theroux's first trip to the 49th state, at least as a full stop rather than a plane change. In a 2013 interview with the New York Times he lamented, "Yes, I have been to Patagonia and Congo and Sikkim, but I haven't been to the most scenic American states, never to Alaska."
Registration is limited to 50 participants. For more information go to nwwriterss.com.
More bookish news
The UAA Campus Bookstore will depart from their customary schedule of book readings and author events with a demonstration of chocolatiering by Chef Vern Wolfram and student apprentices in the UAA Culinary Arts and Hospitality program from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16. Everyone is welcome to attend and parking will be free for this event in the South Lot, Sports Complex NW Lot, West Campus Central Lot and Sports Campus West Lot. Stop by and sample some delicious chocolate delicacies that will put a shine on your holiday sweet tooth.
And an author who has spent almost all of her time in Alaska, Judy Ferguson, will sign copies of her new book "Window to the Land, An Alaska Native Story Vol. Two: Iditarod and Alaska River Trails" at the Arts and Crafts Emporium Show at the Dena'ina Center, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19 and 20. She'll also join about l00 of her closest writing buddies at the Anchorage Museum's book fair on Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 25-27.
Artists sought for Gold Rush park
Returning to Southeast for a moment, the Skagway Arts Council, National Parks Service, Yukon Arts Centre and Parks Canada are inviting "established visual artists" to apply for the Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency program. Selected artists will camp on the historic trail of '98 as they backpack from Alaska to Yukon on a creative journey. Participants will deliver art talks and workshops on the trail, in Skagway and Whitehorse and submit work from the residency to the various agencies. Selected artists will be encouraged to bring a friend or family member along with them.
Canadian and American artists can participate in next year's pool, as well as a "regional" artist, meaning someone from either Alaska or Yukon. In 2018 the search will expand to include artists from other countries. Get more information and apply at yukonartscentre.com/programs/chilkoot.
The International Gallery of Contemporary Art will host a free guided tour of the "Rarefied Light" juried photo show at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The guides will include some of the photographers with work on display. Refreshments will be served. The gallery is located at 427 D St.
'Calendar Girls' extends
"Calendar Girls," a rollicking show about women of a certain age who decide to raise charity funds by posing for a calendar in the altogether, is adding an extra show to the run. Showtimes are now 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday through Nov. 20, plus a matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19. Tickets for the show, at Cyrano's, are available at centertix.net.
Jones' play scheduled for Cincinnati
Alaska poet and playwright Arlitia Jones' play "Summerland" is scheduled to be presented in Ohio by the Cincinnati Playhouse, Feb. 4-March 5, 2017. The play concerns a real-life 19th-century photographer who some thought was taking pictures of spirits of deceased individuals. Jones and Cincinnati Playhouse director Michael Haney have previously worked on the script for Perseverance Theatre's "A Christmas Carol," which will be reprised in Anchorage next month.
Post for pianos
Music-makers in Alaska and elsewhere are invited to post videos of themselves playing a holiday song on a Yamaha instrument in what's billed as the "Share the Gift" program. For every video posted with the hashtag #YamahaShareTheGift the company will donate a keyboard to the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, a nonprofit group that supplies musical instruments to hard-pressed school music programs throughout the country. Yamaha will be giving away up to 300 such keyboards.
The songs must be from a list of 15 selected numbers and must be played on a Yamaha piano or keyboard, either at home or at a Yamaha instrument dealer.
The company lists The Horn Doctor, Classic Pianos of Alaska, Petr's Violin Shop and The Music Man as Anchorage dealers. Other dealers in Alaska include Pro Music in Fairbanks and Juneau Brass & Winds in our windy capital city.
Songs can be posted through Dec. 31. Rules, the list of eligible songs and other information are available at 4wrd.it/ShareTheGift.