The dates for Skagway’s 12th annual North Words Writers Symposium are now Sept. 3-5. The move from its usual time in late May to Labor Day weekend will enable North Words to be in-person. Last year, the symposium was held virtually due to COVID 19. 

“Our aim is to have a COVID-safe conference late in the summer, working with our municipality and various vendors,” said Jeff Brady of the North Words organizing faculty. “Our board and faculty wanted us to try to make it happen, rather than go virtual two years in a row.” 

Keynote speaker Tommy Orange (“There There”) agreed to the new dates, as did most of the faculty announced last fall. The only changes: Nome poet Marie Tozier and Gustavus nonfiction writer Hank Lentfer will replace Fairbanks poet Nicole Stellon O’Donnell and Unalakleet writer Laureli Ivanoff.

“Nicole and Laureli couldn’t make September work, so we’ll try to have them here another year,” Brady said. “But we gain Hank, whom we have been anxious to have at North Words for some time, and Marie is a wonderful new poet on the Alaska landscape.”

Tozier’s 2020 collection, “Open The Dark” from Boreal Books, has received wonderful reviews, as has Lentfer’s latest, the critically acclaimed “Raven’s Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson,” published by Mountaineers Books in 2020.

Others on the 2021 faculty are Tina Ontiveros (winner of a 2020 PNBA award for her memoir “rough house”), Bryan Allen Fierro, Kim Heacox and M Jackson.

North Words released its proposed panel and workshop topics on its website March 14, and a first-look schedule will appear in April. Register at