Susy Buchanan, grants program director of the Alaska Humanities Forum
Eowyn Ivey, The Snow Child
The Snow Child, Palmer, Alaska, resident Eowyn Ivey's first published work, was a 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist and garnered numerous other awards locally, nationally, and internationally.
The novel was also the 2013 selection for Anchorage Reads, an Anchorage Public Library program that promotes literacy and community building by encouraging people of different ages and backgrounds to engage in a shared reading experience and discussion of a single book. Anchorage Reads is funded in part by a 2013 Alaska Humanities Forum General Grant.
The Snow Child tells the story of Mabel and Jack, two childless homesteaders living a hard life in Alaska in the 1920s. According to a glowing National Public Radio review that aired earlier this year: "The kernel of its story begins in fairy tale and myth—in a book that homesteader Mabel read during her Massachusetts girlhood. The book, published in Russian in 1857, belonged originally to her father and tells the story of 'Snegurochka,' or 'the Snow Maiden,' a girl, half human and half ice and snow, who comes into the life of a childless old couple. Mabel has half remembered this volume and asks her sister back East to send it to her. Why? She and Jack have, in the middle of a winter, fashioned a snow child of their own in front of their cabin—only to imagine, at first, that it has come to life in the person of a blond-haired feral girl with a red fox as a mascot."
Lynn Schooler, The Blue Bear: A True Story of Friendship, Tragedy, and Survival in the Alaskan Wilderness
This poignant memoir chronicles author Lynn Schooler's friendship with Japanese wildlife photographer Michio Hoshino and their quest to find and photograph the elusive glacier bear.
In the book, Schooler, scarred by childhood scoliosis that confined him to a back brace and subjected him to ridicule from his peers for much of his formative years, is trying to come to terms with a friend's murder at the hands of a serial killer when he and Hoshino meet. Schooler is hired to guide the renowned photographer. The Blue Bear traces the friendship they developed while exploring some of Alaska's wildest places on their search.
Published in 2002, The Blue Bear has been highly acclaimed. The Oregonian raved about the "awe-inspiring beauty of Alaska's Glacier Coast" described in its pages. Publishers Weekly called the memoir "beautifully crafted" and spoke of the "overpowering Alaska landscape." The Seattle Times labeled Schooler's prose "cinematography," while the New York Times Book Review praised it as "sublime."
A 2010 grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum helped adapt the memoir to the stage as a successful play performed at sold-out venues in Anchorage and Juneau.
Alaska Humanities Forum