Southeast writers have had a busy year

Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010

In Juneau, local authors are not only plentiful, they're productive. Lynn Schooler, for example, turned out not one but two titles this year: "Walking Home," a nonfiction book, and his first novel, "Heartbroke Bay," published under a pseudonym, Lynn d'Urso. It's enough to make any proscrastinator think twice.

Schooler and about 20 other writers were featured at Hearthside Books' recent authors event, showcasing a wide range of local talent. For those who missed it, here's a look at some of the local writers who turned out titles in the past year, as well as a brief list of other Alaska books.

Southeast authors

Fiction and poetry

"Heartbroke Bay" by Lynn D'Urso (Juneau): The first novel by Lynn Schooler, published under a pen name, is based on the true story the story of Hannah Nelson, a young Englishwoman who arrived in Alaska in 1989.

"Notes Searching for a Tune: Poems by Richard Stokes" by Richard Stokes (Juneau): Local poet (and frequent L'attitude contributor) Stokes has gathered highlights from his work.

"Piccolino, The Little Partisan" by Roy Varni (Juneau): Varni, author of "It Rains Murder Sometimes in Juneau," takes a new direction with this story, a fictional account of the Partisan Resistance Movement in Italy at the end of World War II. The first half is narrated by a German solider, and the second by an Italian civilian.

"Rose City Demise" by M. Scott Kelley, (Juneau): The first in a series of mystery novels set in Portland, Ore. featuring ex-Coastie-turned-PI Matt MacKinnon

"The Great Alaskan Adventure...with Zombies!" by J. Kevin Burchfield: Burchfield takes the classic end-of-the-world, man-eating zombie scenario and sets it down in a familiar landscape.

Personal essay

"The Thanksgiving Handbook: Celebrating Thanksgiving One Day at a Time" by Robert Cozby (Juneau): Explores the concept, attitude and action of giving thanks, both during Thanksgiving itself and in everyday life.

"Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: Family, Friendships & Faith in Small-Town Alaska" by Heather Lende (Haines): Lende's second book describes her near-fatal accident and the strong community that helped her rebound.

"Romeo: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf" by John Hyde (Juneau): Wildlife photographer Hyde combines color photographs of Romeo in a variety of settings with text that describes the wolf's life and impact.

"Women's Voices: The Wisdom of Grandmothers" by Susan Christianson (Juneau): A collection of interviews with mothers and grandmothers, in which they share their life experiences.

"Walking Home: A Traveler in the Alaskan Wilderness, a Journey into the Human Heart" by Lynn Schooler (Juneau): Schooler's award-winning book tells the true story of his solo expedition through Glacier Bay National Park.


"Real Alaskan" magazine, by Jeff Brown (Juneau): Satirical magazine that pokes fun at all things Alaskan.

Photography and art

"Something Fishy This Way Comes: The Artwork of Ray Troll" by Ray Troll (Ketchikan): A collection of the Ketchikan artist's most popular pen and ink drawings, known for their humor as well as scientific accuracy.

"XtraTuf: An Alaskan Way of Life" by Larry Johansen (Juneau): A photojournalistic look at the boots Southeast Alaskans wear proudly.

"Still Rainin' Still Dreamin,' Hall Anderson's Ketchikan" by Hall Anderson: Longtime staff photographer for the Ketchikan Daily News, Anderson's black-and-white images chronicle three decades of life in this small Southeast community.

Children's books

"Have you Ever Seen a Smack of Jellyfish? An alphabet book" by Sarah Asper-Smith (Juneau): Asper-Smith's new children's book combines bright graphics with descriptions of the animal kingdom.

"Sitka Tango, Journey to Juneau Alaska" by Tracie Harang (Sitka): The second book in the Tango series follows the dog and his family up Mount Roberts.

Native issues

"Tlingit Wood Carving, Volumes 1-3" by Richard Beasley: Published at the end of 2009 by Sealaska Heritage Institute, these three books document Tlingit artist Beasley's work with full-color photos (taken by local photographer Mark Kelley), and step-by-step text. Projects are a Tlingit tray, hat and mask.

"Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska" by Aron Crowell, Rosita Worl (Juneau) and Paul Ongtooguk: Features more than 200 objects, such as masks, parkas, weapons and carvings, and celebrates both the return of ancestral treasures and the diverse cultures in which they were created.

Outdoors and the environment

"Field Guide to Seaweeds of Alaska," by Mandy Lindeberg (Juneau) and Sandra Lindstrom (BC, formerly Juneau): Photographs and descriptions of more than 100 species of seaweed.

"Juneau American Dippers: Singers in the Mountain Stream" by Mary Willson (Juneau) and Kathy Hocker (Juneau): American Dipper researchers Willson and Hocker explore the habits, habitat and behavior of these unusual aquatic songbirds.

"Juneau Dragonflies of Alaska" (2nd ed) by Bob Armstrong (Juneau) and John Hudson (Juneau): This guide to all 35 species of dragonflies found in Alaska has been updated with illustrations and additional species.

"Native Plants of Southeast Alaska" by Judy Hall (Haines): Comprehensive field guide to the plants of Southeast includes detailed line drawings and descriptions for more than 830 species.

"Lichens around Mendenhall Glacier" by Bob Armstrong (Juneau) and Chiska Derr (Juneau): Full-color book gives background on lichen ecology and descriptions of a variety of species.

"Gustavus Tongass Timber: A History of Logging & Timber Utilization in Southeast Alaska" by Jim Mackovjak (Gustavus): Traces the history of the many attempts to develop Southeast Alaskan forests.

Current affairs

"Alaska Politics and Public Policy : The Dynamics of Beliefs, Institutions, Processes, Personalities, and Power," Clive Thomas (Juneau): Thomas, a UAS professor, reevaluates key past and present issues in Alaska politics in this primer on Alaska affairs.

Other Alaskan authors and subjects

Fiction and poetry

"Ice Floe: New and Selected Poems," Edited by Shannon Gramse and Sarah Kirk: A collection of the poetry journal's first seven years of publication, includes work by poets in Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.

"Cold Flashes: Literary Snapshots of Alaska, by Michael Engelhard: Very short prose and black-and-white photos offer glimpses of the people and places that make up Alaska.

"The Ghost of Fannie Guthry-Baehm, a Murder Mystery," by Jonathan Faulkner: Inspired by actual events, this fictional story is set in a Seward hotel many believe to be haunted by the ghost of a woman murdered there in 1950.

Art and photography

"Arctic Sanctuary: Images of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," by Jeff Jones and Laurie Hoyle: A collection of essays and panoramic photos highlights the Arctic National WIldlife Refuge.

"The Changing Arctic Landscape," by Ken Tape: Photographer Tape highlights the changes to the landscape by pairing decades-old photos of the Arctic with photos of the same scenes taken in the present.

Personal essay

"Purely Alaska: Authentic Voices of the Far North," by John Creed and Susan Andrews. In this sequel to "Authentic Alaska," the editors, both on the faculty of Chukchi College in Kotzebue, include stories told by a variety of rural Alaskans.

Children's books

"A Place for Delta," by Melissa Walker: A children's book about a boy who is asked to help care for an orphaned polar bear cub.

"D is for Dog Team: Alaska Acrostics from A-Z," by Ken Waldman: Fiddlng poet Waldman's first children's book is a collection of poems, songs and illustrations. Comes with a CD.

"A Caribou Journey" and "A Woolly Mammoth Journey," by Debbie S. Miller, Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle: Two classic picture books for kids, now back in print.

"Survival at 40 Below," by Debbie S. Miller, illustrated by Jon Van Zyle: A look at the winter adaptations of arctic animals: from frozen wood frogs to muskox.

Native issues

"Alaska Native Cultures & Issues: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions," edited by Libby Roderick: Offers accessible responses to frequently asked questions about the histories and cultures of Alaska Native cultures.

"Yupiit Yuraryarait: Yup'ik Ways of Dancing," by James H. Barker and Ann Fienup-Riordan with Theresa Arevgaq John: An in-depth look at Yup'ik interpretive dance, accompanied by 150 original photographs and a DVD.

"Plants That We Eat, Nauriat Nigiñaqtuat," by Anore Jones: This guide to the edible plant life of northwestern Alaska, organized by season, is the only published guide to traditional plants used for subsistence by the Inupiat. Includes identification, collection, storage, and preparation.

"The Totem Pole: an Intercultural History," by Aldona Jonaitis and Aaron Glass: Traces the history of totem poles within both Native and non-Native contexts, with a focus on how the interaction of these widely divergent cultures affected the form.

"Red: A Haida Manga," by Michael Yahlgulaanas: This full-color graphic novel is a visual retelling of a story from the Haida oral tradition.

Outdoors and the environment

"Salmon in the Trees," by Amy Gulick: A visual and written story of Gulick's multi-year journey through the Tongass rain forest. Includes contributions from Southeast residents such as Ray Troll, Sissi Babich and Rosita Worl.

"The Fishes & Dishes Cookbook: Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska's Commercial Fisherwomen," by Kiyo Marsh, Tomi Marsh, Laura Cooper: A collection of seafood recipes from three commercial Fisherwomen, accompanied by stories of their adventures in the trade.

"Pacific Feast: A Field Guide to Coastal Foraging and Cuisine," by Jennifer Hahn: Describes 40 plant species, explaining where to find them, which parts are edible, and their culinary uses.

"Familiar Plants of Coastal Alaska: A Guide to Identification," by Stephen MacLean: A full color plant guide featuring the most common and familiar plants found on the state's coasts.

"On Sea Ice," By W.F. Weeks: Geophysicist Weeks offers an account of sea ice's creation, changes and function.

Memoir, history and current affairs

"Boom Town Boy: Coming of Age on Alaska's Lost Frontier," by Jack de Yonge: This memoir from Former Fairbanks Daily News reporter de Yonge describes the arrival of World War II and the permanent changes created there as a result.

"According to Earl: Untold Humorous Stories of Radio and TV" by Earl F Reilly Jr.: A humorous account of Reilly's experiences as a broadcast pioneer with Seattle's KING-TV and radio and other stations, and throughout a career that spanned 60 years.

"Native Lad: Benny Benson Tells Alaska's Story," Sarah Hurst, with cartoonists Stanley McCauley, Lee Post and Evon Zerbetz and others: This graphic novel is a retelling of the true story of Benny Benson and is a collaborative effort between author Hurst and a handful of illustrators.

"In Search of the Kuskokwim and Other Endeavors," by Stephen J. Spurr: The grandson of geologist J Edward Spurr describes his grandfather's experiences in exploring the state on behalf of the us government.

"Fish Out of Water," by Arlene Lochridge: Tells the story of Lochridge's aunt, Hazel Stone, who moved from Seattle to Alaska to become a commercial fisherwoman with her husband, Carl, in the 1940s.

"Crossing the Gates of Alaska: One Man, Two Dogs, 600 Miles Off the Map," by Dave Metz: Describes Metz' three-month journey through the Arctic with his two Airedales

"The Alaska Bush Pilot Chronicles," by Mort D. Mason: Author Mason revisits harrowing moments from his 30-year career as an alaska bush pilot.

"On the Edge of Survival: A Shipwreck, a Raging Storm, and the Harrowing Alaskan Rescue that became a Legend" By Spike Walker: A true adventure tale set in Alaskan waters from the author whose books inspired "the Deadliest Catch" TV series.

"Alaska's Place in the West: From the Last Frontier to the Last Great Wilderness," By Roxanne Willis: Explores the history and diversity of the state, from Sarah Palin's rise to stardom to environmental battles over oil drilling in the Arctic.

"Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike," by Charlotte Gray: Gray draws on letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, and stories to tell her story about the gold madness that swept Dawson City, changing the area forever.

"Before the Storm A Year in the Pribilof Islands, 1941-1942," by Fredericka Martin: Martin, who lived on St. Paul Island with her husband, recounts her observations about the struggles of Native Alaskans in the World War II years.

"Natalia Shelikhova: Russian Oligarch of Alaska Commerce," edited and translated by Dawn Lea Black and Alexander Yu. Petrov : Primary source materials relating to the life and work of Shelikhova, a 19th century Russian American businesswoman who worked in Alaska.

"City for Empire: An Anchorage History, 1914-1941," by Preston Jones: Describes Anchorage's development from 1914-1941, focusing on the international context of the city and its diverse population.

"Treadwell Gold: An Alaska Saga of Riches and Ruin," by Sheila Kelly (Seattle) : First-person accounts from the children of Treadwell mine workers, supplemented with vintage photos.

"Bong Hits 4 Jesus: A Perfect Constitutional Storm in Alaska's Capital," By James C. Foster: Chronicles JDHS senior Joseph Frederick's suspension and suit against the school district.

Editor's note: This list of recent releases was compiled with help from Hearthside Books' Katrina Pearson as well as online catalogs from the University of Alaska Press, Sasquatch Books and Epicenter Press. If you want your book added to the list, email Arts Editor Amy Fletcher at

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