Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series

The Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series is an annual program that hosts local and nationally renowned writers for craft lectures and public readings. The first events were held in the early 1970s, and over the years, many of the most prestigious names in literature—Robert Pinsky, Lucille Clifton, Scott Russell Sanders, Mark Doty, Camille Dungy, and Terry Tempest Williams, to name a few—have made appearances in Fairbanks. All events are free, and they're open to university students, stakeholders, and community members. For the 2022–23 academic year, Sara Eliza Johnson is Director of the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series.

The series also hosts the Dead Writers reading during the Halloween season. Participants—including many of our MFA students and faculty—deliver readings from the work of their favorite deceased writers, often in full creepy costume. The event includes raffle prizes and awards such Best Costume and Best Performance. Dead Writers, which originated in 1990, raises additional funds to bring visiting writers to Fairbanks.

Below is a partial listing of this year's Midnight Sun visiting writers. More events will be posted as they're announced.

Caitlin Scarano & Debbie Moderow
September 1, 2022; Murie Auditorium
Originally from Southside Virginia, Caitlin Scarano is a writer based in Bellingham, WA. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her second full length collection of poems, The Necessity of Wildfire, was selected by Ada Limón as the winner of the Wren Poetry Prize. . . . Debbie Moderow received a BA from Princeton University, and an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University. Her memoir, Fast Into the Night: A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail, recounts her adventures during the 2003 and 2005 Iditarod Sleddog Race. Fast Into the Night received the 2017 National Outdoor Book Award for Outdoor Literature as well as the 2017 WILLA Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Ken Waldman
October 7, 2022; Murie Auditorium
Ken Waldman's creative work combines original poetry, old-time string-band music, and smart storytelling. He is the author of twenty books: sixteen full-length poetry collections, a memoir, a creative writing manual, a kids' book, and a novel. Waldman has also created twelve CDs, the most recent one being recorded and produced in Fairbanks to complement his novel Now Entering Alaska Time.

Dead Writers
October 29, 2022; The Pub
Returning as in person-event for the first time since the pandemic, this year's Dead Writers featured performances from the "ghosts" of Emily Dickenson, Ernest Hemingway, Louis L'Amour, Ivor Cutler, Jerry Garcia, the Witches of Hamlet, and many others.

Tom Kizzia
November 18, 2022; Murie Auditorium
Tom Kizzia was named 2022 Historian of the Year by the Alaska Historical Society for his most recent book, Cold Mountain Path. He is also the author of the bestseller Pilgrim’s Wilderness, chosen by the New York Times as the best true crime book set in Alaska, and the Native village travel narrative, The Wake of the Unseen Object, now reissued in the Alaska Classics Series of the University of Alaska Press. His journalism has appeared in The New YorkerLos Angeles Times, The Washington PostColumbia Journalism Review, and in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2017.