About The Alaska State Writer Laureate Program

In the early 1960s, the Juneau Poetry Society created the Poet Laureate Program to honor an Alaska poet and poetic literature. Since then, the program has evolved into the Alaska State Writer Laureate program, the only program in the U.S. that honors all genres of writing.

Every two years, the Alaska State Council on the Arts solicits nominations for this honorary, unpaid position. We appreciate the commitment and passion that the selected State Writers have brought to Alaska during their respective terms. As illustrated by the names of the people who have held this position in the recent past (a complete list is on our website) it is obvious that this title, while voluntary, is one that is critical not only to the citizens of Alaska, but also to the field of writers and readers throughout our state and nationally.

During their term, each State Writer will complete a project of their choosing that will advance the literary arts in Alaska. Fairbanks playwright Anne Hanley (2002-2004) wrote a regular poetry column in the Anchorage Daily News. Jerah Chadwick, a poet from Unalaska (2004-2006) put together a terrific poem-a-day program during National Poetry Month. Poet and novelist John Straley from Sitka (2006-2008) taught writing workshops to atrisk students. Nancy Lord (2008-2010) visited numerous communities across the state conveying her passion for writing, books and libraries. Peggy Shumaker (2010-2012) developed the Alaskan Writers Directory www.alaskanwritersdirectory.com In addition, John Straley and Nancy Lord wrote and published books during their tenure.

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