Welcome 2020 at Storyknife!

Welcome to 2020 at Storyknife! We hope that you all had a peaceful holiday season and that this new year will be filled with all good things.

There is so much good news at Storyknife that we’re pinching ourselves to make sure it’s real. First, 318 people applied for residencies during our 2019 open application period. Folks, going to be honest here, we were thinking that we’d receive 100 applications the first year. We are so pleased with the diversity and strength of the applications we’ve received. Right now, they’re in the hands of the adjudication panel. We’ll be sending out the results on 2/4 at the very latest. So if you’re waiting to hear, expect an email on or before that date.

Second, we are welcoming a new Advisory Council member, Jo Michalski. Jo is a vibrant and incredible part of many nonprofit organizations in Alaska. We are incredibly grateful to have her energy, fundraising savvy, and experience on our Advisory Council moving forward. Please check out her full biography to learn more about her.

Finally! Storyknife has hired a chef. We knew what qualities we wanted to find in a chef, not just an amazing cook, but someone who understood that preparing food is part of nurturing our writers. The dining table at Storyknife will not just be a place to stop in for a bite to eat, but a place where the Storyknife writers form a community, share ideas and support. So, when we had the opportunity to hire the amazing Maura Brenin, we jumped at it.

Maura grew up in Vermont. Her mother introduced her to the kitchen when she was too small to hold a knife. Her mother, a devout Macrobiotic, spent hours preparing food with tremendous intention and love for their family. They ate locally, organically and holistically. Maura learned early that a simple meal could contain magic, to heal the soul and uplift and comfort the body.  She has always sought opportunities to work closely with food.

Maura moved to Southeast Alaska in 1998 and fell in love with the land and its wild primal nature. She found Homer shortly after her arrival in the state and knew she had found her forever home.  Maura opened her first restaurant in 2003, Maura’s Cafe and Fine Catering which was located in Historic Old Town Homer nestled closely next to the Bunnell Street Arts Center.

Maura raised her son Asa in her kitchen, amidst bubbling cauldrons and sizzling pans.  She joyously spent fourteen years with her doors wide open to the amazing community of Homer.  In 2016, she welcomed her second son Henry and sold her restaurant. She has been privileged to continue cooking in Homer as a private chef.

Look for more news as we furnish and decorate Storyknife. We’ve been opening all of the boxes that streamed in at the end of the year from our Gift Registries. Maura will be organizing the kitchen, while I work to make sure that each cabin has everything the April 2020 residents will need. Your generosity has made Storyknife what it is.

Thank you all again! We love having you as part of the Storyknife community.

Erin Hollowell
Storyknife Executive Director

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