By Leaps and Bounds


We are delighted to announce that Storyknife Writers Retreat has raised enough funds that with a 2-to-1 matching donation from Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli, the main house can be built and dedicated to Homer writer Eva Saulitis!

Starting in November last year, donations were solicited via a crowd-funding campaign to build Eva’s House, the main house where the chef/site manager will provide meals for residents throughout their stay. Eva’s House will also contain a dining/living area, office, and library/classroom for public presentations.

Last month, we reached our goal with a donation made by Nancy Nordhoff, the founder of Hedgebrook. If you remember, in 1989, Dana Stabenow won a residency at Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island in Washington. The profound impact of that residency, and the fact that Hedgebrook receives many more applications than they have spots to host writers, inspired her to develop such an opportunity for women writers at Storyknife. Joe, Peggy, and Nancy’s generous spirits are touchstones for us as we grow.

We continue to concentrate on raising the rest of the funds needed for building the remaining three cabins as well as the infrastructure, furnishings, and landscape development. Your donations will still go directly into the capital campaign account. All donations over $1000 will assure your place in the Mount Iliamna Founders Circle, but any donation helps bring Storyknife one step closer to completion.

Also in April, Erin attended the Emerging Programs Conference held by the Alliance of Artist Communities. She learned so much about promoting equity, board development, funding, messaging, and the business of running a writer’s residency. We can’t wait to put some of what she learned into action as we gear up for our 2017 residency season which opens with Maireád Byrne in June. Please join us in celebrating women’s voices!

If there’s anything you want to learn more about, please feel free to reach out to Erin at

PS. The photo is American Brianna Rollins cruising to victory in a semifinal heat of the women’s 100-meter hurdles in August 2016. We like to imagine ourselves crushing our fundraising campaign like that.

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