F134. True North: Alaskan Literary Nonfiction

Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
Friday, February 28, 2014
10:30 am to 11:45 am


Recent years have brought the development of a strong field of creative nonfiction by Alaskans rooted in the land and its cultures. The result is a stranger-than-fiction literature of compelling, often dramatic truths. Five Alaskan writers will briefly posit reasons behind the genre’s northern robustness before sharing work inspired by extreme circumstances, encounters with the wild, and the challenges and opportunities of living in a rapidly-changing North.



Nancy Lord, a former Alaska writer laureate, is the author of three collections of short fiction and five books of literary nonfiction, including Beluga Days and Early Warming. She teaches in the University of Alaska Anchorage system and has received numerous residency fellowships.

Christine Byl is the author of Dirt Work: An Education In the Woods. Her prose has appeared in the Sun, Crazyhorse, and Glimmer Train. A recipient of Rasmuson Foundation and Alaska State Council on the Arts awards, she makes a living doing trail design and construction across Alaska.

Ernestine Hayes is a member of the Kaagwaantaan clan of the Tlingit. Her book, Blonde Indian, an Alaska Native Memoir, won an American Book Award and was finalist for a PEN Nonfiction Award and the Kiriyami Prize. She is assistant professor of English at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau.

Tom Kizzia is author of two non-fiction books of reporting set in Alaska, Pilgrim's Wilderness and The Wake of the Unseen Object. A graduate of Hampshire College and a former Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford, he worked as a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News 1982-2009.

Sherry Simpson is an associate professor in the Low-Residency MFA Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage and a faculty member with the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Her books include The Way Winter Comes, The Accidental Explorer, and The Dominion of Bears.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center