State Writer Laureate selection delayed but coming soon

State Writer Laureate selection delayed but coming soon

In the meantime, Juneau is home to the state writer laureate.

Ernestine Saankalaxt’ Hayes’ tenure as Alaska State Writer Laureate is lasting slightly longer than initially expected.

Hayes, a University of Alaska Southeast professor and author of “Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir” and “The Tao of Raven,” was announced as the 2016-2018 Alaska State Writer Laureate in December 2016 and introduced at the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards in January 2017.

[Ernestine Hayes’ favorite reads of 2018 and other artists’ favorites]

When 2018 came to a close, there was no announcement of Hayes’ successor and no introduction of a new writer laureate at this year’s arts and humanities awards earlier this month.

“I’m not sure if I’m Laureate for a few extra months or if it’s more of a slight pause in the process,” Hayes told the Capital City Weekly via email. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure to serve as Writer Laureate, and I feel certain that serving as former Laureate will be just as fulfilling.”

While the Writer Laureate selection process is happening later than usual, it is in progress, and an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

“The state writer selection process is underway and we should have an announcement for the media by March 30, 2019,” said Andrea Noble-Pelant, Executive Director for Alaska State Council on the Arts in an email responding to a phone call Tuesday. “It’s a little later than usual so the position will go from April 1, 2019-March 30, 2021.”

The State Writer Laureate program is a partnership between the state council on the arts and the Alaska Humanities Forum, according to the Alaska State Council on the Arts’ website. The program is a direct descendent of the Poet Laureate program started by the Juneau Poetry Society in the 1960s.

[Lecture questions colonial names]

In 1996, the Poet Laureate Program was broadened to recognize all types of writing.

Noble-Pelant said this isn’t the first time there has been date change in the Writer Laureate Program’s recent history.

“Several years ago, the position was October – September, then January–December so the starting points have varied depending on a number of circumstances,” Noble-Pelant said. “We have limited staff capacity for all our programs, so we delayed the selection process while we focused on the Governor’s awards since staff is essentially the same for both programs.”


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


More in News

Meals slated for children in Juneau over Thanksgiving weekend are arrayed on tables at Thunder Mountain High School on Nov. 25, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Luke Adams)
Font of plenty: JSD readies meals for Thanksgiving holiday

Nearly three tons of food got distributed for the long weekend.

Travelers arrive at the Juneau International Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, made up only about half of what the airport normally sees in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Centennial Hall, seen here on Tuesday, Nov. 24, is being used by the City and Borough of Juneau as an emergency facility during the coronavirus pandemic and will not host the annual Public Market which has taken place every weekend after Thanksgiving since 1983. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Want to buy Alaskan? Closed by pandemic, Public Market goes virtual

Normally throngs of Juneauites would be lined up around the block…

To capture the unexpected action- the unrepeatable moment- it should be instinctive.  In order to build the story you have to shoot the adjective.  In this photo the bald eagle had waited patiently for the right moment to pounce on an unsuspecting vole… the unexpected.  The best way to accomplish this is to master the art of the most difficult subject to photograph– birds in flight.  In order to do this you must learn your gear; it must become part of your muscle memory so you can concentrate on the story you are witnessing.  Canon 5D Mark III, Tamron 150-600mm, shot at 600mm, ISO AUTO (1250), F6.3, 1/3200, Handheld. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
Focal Point: Great photos are just waiting in the wings

Learn to shoot the verb (and the bird).

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Construction of the new Glory Hall, above, is going smoothly, said executive director Mariya Lovishchuk on Nov. 24, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Thor Lindstam)
Building a brighter future: New Glory Hall reaches skyward

The structure is rapidly progressing, shouldering aside inclement weather.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Tuesday, Nov. 24

The most recent state and local numbers.

Most Read