Women’s History Month Virtual Literary Reading

Women’s History Month Virtual Literary Reading

Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 7 pm

Virtual – on Zoom

Watch the video below to see the recording of this event!

Fairbanks Arts is pleased to present a literary reading with three generations of women from UAF.

Our readers for this event included Elizabeth Bolton, a current student; Gerri Brightwell, a current professor; professor emerita Peggy Shumaker; and alumni Chelsey Qaġġun Zibell, Amanda Bales, and Tiaumaluali’i Jody Marie Hassel, MFA. 

Elizabeth Bolton lives in Southeast Alaska where she writes, raises children, and wrangles chickens. Originally from Brooklyn, Liz graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University and is now pursuing her MFA through the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She spent nearly two decades in Los Angeles and Amsterdam, where she taught and performed sketch comedy and improv, and made a living as a voiceover and on-camera actress. Along with creative nonfiction, Liz has written for television, been published widely in the parenting space, and currently works as a commercial scriptwriter and producer.

Elizabeth will be reading from Starfish: A Paeon to Those Who Cannot Breathe. Starfish is a meditation on life, death, and the ways in which we are all connected to one another. Content warning: the piece deals with infant loss.

Gerri Brightwell’s latest novel, Turnback Ridge, will be published by Torrey House Press in August. She is the author of the novels Dead of Winter (Salt, 2016), The Dark Lantern (Crown, 2008), and Cold Country (Duckworth, 2003). Her short work has appeared in many venues including The Best American Mystery Stories 2017, Alaska Quarterly Review, and BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines. She teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Peggy Shumaker served as Alaska State Writer Laureate and as the Rasmuson Foundation’s Distinguished Artist.  She’s the author of eight books of poetry, including Cairn, new and selected. Her lyrical memoir is Just Breathe Normally. Professor emerita at University of Alaska Fairbanks, Shumaker teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA at PLU. She serves on the boards of Storyknife, the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation, and the Raz-Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prizes. Shumaker edits Boreal Books (an imprint of Red Hen Press) and the Alaska Literary Series at Univ. of Alaska Press, and is contributing editor for Alaska Quarterly Review. 

Chelsey Qaġġun Zibell is originally from the Iñupiaq community of Noorvik in northwest Alaska. She is of Iñupiaq and German background. She obtained a BA in literature and Iñupiaq language, an MA/MFA in Literature and Creative Writing, and a M.Ed. with a focus on Secondary Education. She taught high school English Language Arts for 3 years before moving to the University of Alaska Fairbanks to become the Assistant Professor of Iñupiaq language.

Chelsey will be reading from poems that  focus on the transition from pre-contact Iñupiaq culture, the arrival of colonizers, the impact of Western culture, and negotiating indigenous identity in a changing world.

Amanda Bales hails from Oklahoma. Since leaving, she has lived in many places, including Fairbanks, Alaska, where she received her MFA. She now lives with her dog, Axton, in central Illinois and teaches at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Amanda will read from her short story collection Pekolah Stories.

Tiumaluali’i Jody Marie Hassel (she/they) is the daughter of Jerry Hassel and Joan Sahlin and the daughter of Diana Leasia and Saimana Faumuina. She was born into the privileges of being a third-generation settler-colonizer raised in the unceded territory of the Lower Tanana Dené Athabascan peoples in what is now known as Fairbanks, Alaska. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing which she has put to use as an artist and educator in Alaska since 1992. As a biracial adoptee, Jody navigates her understanding of personal trauma and community struggles in essays that explore how the body remembers both wounding and repair. She teaches Writing and Yoga classes for UAF and is the founder and Executive Director of Blossom House Healing Arts, a nonprofit service collective fostering effective action toward community healing and empowerment.

Jody will read a new essay, “Love Loess,” from her memoir To the Root: Recovery of a Samoan Princess in the Exile of Erasure. The larger work navigates the discovery of her Polynesian identity in the wake of deep loss and ultimate reunion. Her essay “La’ititi Lacuna” from the To the Root won Runner-up for the X.J. Kennedy Award for Creative Nonfiction, and her work is published in Rosebud Magazine and Hawai’i Review.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact (907) 251-8386 or email literary@fairbanksarts.org.