Carol Swartz, director of the Kenai Peninsula College Kachemak Bay Campus, received a 2012 Distinguished Service to the Humanities Award for her work supporting and promoting the humanities.
Swartz, who became the campus director in 1986, has been working on behalf of the humanities for 26 years. In 2001, she founded and continues to organize the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. The nationally recognized conference is held annually in Homer, Alaska. It features workshops, readings and panel presentations in fiction, poetry, nonfiction and the business of writing. Over the years, the conference has brought literary luminaries to Homer, including Barry Lopez, Amy Tan, Michael Cunningham and Rita Dove.
Other important writers—many of them Alaskans—also present at each conference. They have included Elizabeth Dodd, Camille Dungy, Daryl Farmer, Dan O’Neill, Ann Pancake, Eva Saulitis, Peggy Shumaker, James Engelhardt, Debra Gwartney, Nancy Lord, Valerie Miner, Don Rearden, Sherry Simpson and Amber Flora Thomas.
Swartz has been singled out for other awards for her work and support of the writing conference. When she won the 2009 Alaska Center for the Book award for contributions to literacy in Alaska, she told the Homer Tribune:
“Receiving this recognition is appreciated, but also very humbling. The conference couldn’t happen without the writers who want to come to Homer every year to share their craft and themselves—and the donors. I see the effort as a ‘we,’ not an ‘I’.”
The Governor’s Awards will be presented during a dinner at the Hotel Captain Cook on Thursday, Oct. 18. The honors are sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Office of the Governor with generous support from ConocoPhillips Alaska and BP. Read the full press release (PDF) here.