Arts council announces new state writer laureate

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Alaska State Council on the Arts has chosen Fairbanks writer Peggy Shumaker as the new Alaska state writer laureate 2010-2012. She will serve a two-year term, which begun Oct. 1, 2010. She succeeds Homer writer Nancy Lord.

As state writer laureate, Shumaker will represent the council and the state of Alaska in communities, conducting workshops and readings as well as connecting Alaskan writers with each other and with the outside world.

Shumaker is a well-respected writer with a distinguished record of publications. She has six full-length collections of poetry, one memoir, "Just Breathe Normally," and two chapbooks. Her work has appeared nationally and internationally in many anthologies and literary magazines. Her book "Blaze" is a collection of poetry with paintings by Kesler Woodward.

Shumaker won a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and has served as a poet-in-residence at the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell and as president of the board of directors of the Associated Writing Programs. She is active on the National Advisory Board for the Prairie Schooner Book Prizes and the Advisory Board of Red Hen Press. She is also a contributing editor of Alaska Quarterly Review.

Shumaker is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a BA in English and MFA in creative writing. For many years she was writer-in-residence for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, working with school children, prison inmates, deaf adults, gang members and the elderly.

She came to University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1985 to teach creative writing and literature. Professor emerita at UAF, she currently teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. During the past 25 years, she has been active mentoring Alaskan writers, traveling for readings and conferences and promoting Alaskan writers and artists.

In 2008, Peggy founded Boreal Books (, an imprint of Red Hen Press, to publish literature and fine art from Alaska.

For more information about Peggy Shumaker, visit her web site at

For more information on the Alaska State Writer Laureate program, contact the Alaska State Council on the Arts at 907-269-6610, or 1-888-278-7424.

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