Literary Arts

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.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014-2016 Alaska State Writer Laureate. Download the nomination form.

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, depth of career
  • History of advancing literary arts in Alaskan communities and service to Alaskan communities
  • Public presentation or teaching experience
  • Significant body of published work over time in Alaska
  • Ability to travel, teach and present workshops during two-year term