Alaska Sampler 2014: Ten Authors from the Great Land

| June 7, 2014

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Alaska Sampler 2014: Ten Authors from the Great Land: Fiction - Biography - Memoir - Humor

Would the real Alaska please stand up?

This was the challenge put to ten of Alaska’s finest authors: to share unique and intimate perspectives—some previously published, some new to this volume—that reach beyond the usual stereotypes to an Alaska that can’t be packaged or staged.

These stories, musings, and rants come from authors whose roots run deep in the Far North. There’s Dana Stabenow, author of more than thirty novels, who was raised on 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska—she knew there had to be a warmer, drier job out there somewhere. And there’s David Marusek, who writes full time in his low-maintenance cabin near Fairbanks, Alaska, producing fiction that’s “ferociously smart, [and] simultaneously horrific and funny,” according to Publishers Weekly.

The Alaska Sampler features memoir by Leigh Newman, whose Great Alaskan Dad taught her to fish, hunt, curl up and play dead in the case of curious black bears, and to throw up artfully in the hood of parka while flying in a single prop plane. Another memoir comes from Jan Harper Haines, whose stories of floods and ghosts were passed down by her Koyukon Athabascan mother.

From forty-five years in Alaska, including twelve as editor of the Anchorage Daily News, Howard Weaver takes a fresh look at how the state is changing (and not for the better). Another longtime Alaskan, Kaylene Johnson, recounts a death-defying journey by adventurer Dick Griffith. On the lighter side, science writer Ned Rozell gives voice to one of Alaska’s ubiquitous ravens, who has a score or two to settle with us humans.

In fiction, longtime Alaskan Deb Vanasse writes of a woman obsessed with a glacier, while Don Rearden transports us to the tundra with a story that sheds light on everyday struggles in rural Alaska. In novel excerpts by Tanyo Ravicz, a young family faces violent weather, wild bears, illness, isolation, and the intrusion of poachers on Kodiak Island.

Long after you finish, the stories, characters, and images of these authors will linger. Be forewarned: you’ll want to read more.

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