Literary Arts

With guidance from the ASCA appointed literary arts committee, staff works to provide increased visibility, public appreciation and opportunities for literary artists in Alaska.

The program currently provides funds to individuals through the career opportunity grant category. Non-profit organizations apply for project grants, workshop grants and operating support grants to sponsor projects ranging from readings to workshops.

The literary arts committee is developing a plan of action that will guide the development of a stronger literary arts program

We have included links to many organizations that are devoted to poetry and other literary art forms. These are just a few of the opportunities - pick up a pen, pick up a book, go to a reading or browse the internet and have a great time discovering poetry.

Alaska State Writer Laureate

The Juneau Poetry Society created the Poet Laureate Program in the early 1960s. In 1963, under House Resolution 25, the position of Poet Laureate was officially confirmed by the Legislature. In 1987 AKSCA's Literary Advisory Committee began to oversee the selection process with the assistance of past poet laureates. In 1996, the Council acted to broaden the position to that of State Writer, recognizing and honoring all genres of writing. The State Writer position is a two-year appointment.

State Writers Laureate

2012 – Nora Marks Dauenhauer
2010 - Peggy Shumaker
2008 - Nancy Lord
2006 - John Straley
2004 - Jerah Chadwick
2002 - Anne Hanley
2000 - Richard Nelson
1995 - Tom Sexton
1988 - Joanne Townsend
1981 - Richard Dauenhauer
1977 - Sheila Nickerson
1973 - Ruben Gaines
1969 - John Haines
1965 - Oliver Everette
1963 - Margaret Mielke

The Alaska State Writer Laureate is an honorary appointment with a two-year term commitment.

The Alaska State Council on the Arts facilitates the selection of an Alaskan Writer who has demonstrated exemplary professionalism, literary excellence and a commitment to the advancement of literary arts in Alaskan Communities.


  • Literary Excellence – Mastery in style, form, and genre.
  • Exemplary Professionalism – Exceptional Talent in Published Works
  • Advancement of Literary Arts in Alaskan Communities – In Service to Alaskan Communities

State Writer Laureate nomination forms and deadlines are available here when open.