Writer and Juneau campus English faculty Ernestine Hayes is one of five recipients of the 2014 Alaska Literary Awards.
Hayes’ books include her American Book Award winning memoir Blond Indian, as well as a book on Juneau’s early history called Juneau, and a children’s book called The Story of Town Bear and Forest Bear, the first-ever children’s book written entirely in Tlingit (with a companion volume in English). Hayes was also one of two poets honored through the Poetry in Place project in 2013, which placed poems by Hayes and fellow UAS English faculty Emily Wall on permanent signage in Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan. The remaining Alaska Literary Award recipients are Homer poet Erin Hollowell, Anchorage, King Island and Mary’s Igloo poet Joan Kane, Anchorage poet Susanna Mishler, and Fairbanks writer Frank Soos. The five literary artists were selected from a pool of nearly 100 applications. Each will receive a $5,000 fellowship. The annual awards are made possible by Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli through their donation to the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation and administered by the Alaska State Council on the Arts.
Hayes is also one of the first recipients of a writer’s residency from the Rasmuson Foundation. Hayes will be at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program near Woodside, CA. She will focus her energy on various on-going fiction projects, and immerse herself in aspects of the traditions of ancient Chinese poets, contemporary American ghazals and the lyricism of oral history. The foundation recently announced the selection of four Alaskan artists who will each spend eight weeks in residence at acclaimed Lower 48 arts organizations as part of the 2015 Artist Residency Program, which sends Alaska artists to the Lower 48 and brings Lower 48 artists to Alaska for 60-day residencies. The goals of the Artist Residency Program are to support the creative growth of Alaska’s artists and arts organizations, expose Alaskans to new work and creative processes of Lower 48 artists, and introduce Lower 48 communities to unique Alaska perspectives through extended engagements with artists.