Feb. 6, 2020 — Monica Devine — Water Mask, a Collection of Lyrical Essays Set in Alaska

Monica Devine is the author of Water Mask, a collection of lyrical essays set in the beguiling landscape of Alaska. In these stories, Monica skis woodland trails with her baby on her back, navigates the ice with Beaufort Sea whalers, negotiates the deaths of both her mother and father and explores Native language and culture through her work in Alaska’s villages. The healing powers of the natural world, the ways in which memory and perception inform one’s thinking are keenly explored through her poet’s eye.

Monica is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a first-place winner of the Alaska State Poetry Contest, and her piece On The Edge of Ice won first place in creative nonfiction with New Letters journal. She has authored five children’s books, one of her titles a nominee for the celebrated Golden Kite award. Her writing and photographs have appeared in Stoneboat, Cirque, Alaska Magazine, Children’s Television Workshop, Alaska Frontier Magazine, Spirit First and three anthologies. Her current area of study is figurative ceramics. View her website Image Sculpture Verse.

Register to attend this luncheon: https://akprocom.org/rsvp-for-monthly-luncheons/

Photo of Monica Devine
Monica Devine

April 4, 2019–Pam Cravez–The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales From Alaska’s Territorial Lawyers and Judges

Pam Cravez will be telling stories from her book, The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales from Alaska’s Territorial Lawyers and Judges, and talking about the practice of law prior to statehood. Cravez interviewed more than 50 Alaska lawyers for the book, all of whom began practicing law prior to statehood in 1959. Published by UA Press (2017), the book was named among the top ten Best Alaska Reads of 2017 by the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

Cravez has worked as a public defender, chief of staff, reporter, writer, editor, and researcher. She holds a J.D. from Catholic University School of Law and an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is currently communications director for UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Pam Cravez

Pam Cravez

Feb. 7, 2019–Adrienne Lindholm–How Nature and Writing Help Us Make Sense of the World

Adrienne Lindholm is a writer, speaker, and mother who lives in Eagle River, Alaska. She’s the author of several books on backpacking, and her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals.

Released in August 2018, her newest book, It Happened Like This, is a coming-of-age memoir that Outside Magazine calls one of the “best new adventure books.”

Adrienne also oversees the Wilderness Stewardship Program for the National Park Service in Alaska. She believes it is the wildest places that inspire us to be our best selves, that provide refuge from the stresses of our fast-paced society, and that remind us of the value of humility and interconnectedness.

Learn more about Adrienne and her new book at www.adriennelindholm.com.

Photo of Adrienne Lindholm
Adrienne Lindholm

Jan. 3, 2019–Jamey Bradbury–Cornered, Stuck, and Stymied: How Limitations Make Us More Creative

Jamey Bradbury of Anchorage will discuss creativity and her acclaimed book The Wild Inside. In a review of her recent book, John Irving wrote: “The Wild Inside is an unusual love story and a creepy horror novel — think of the Brontë sisters and Stephen King.”

Jamey’s fiction has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Spark + Echo, and Zone 3. She also has written for 49 Degrees North, Alaska Home Magazine, and The Billfold.com, and is an associate editor for Alaska Quarterly Review.

A Midwesterner by birth, Jamey grew up in Illinois and earned her MFA from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She served in AmeriCorps and in the Peace Corps, and now lives in Anchorage. Learn more at www.jameybradbury.com.

Jamey Bradbury

Jamey Bradbury

Sept. 13, 2018–Keenan Powell–Writing What Matters: how a real life murder mystery inspired me to spend hundreds of hours writing a manuscript with no reason to believe it would ever be published

After illustrating Dungeons and Dragons, I ditched art for law school, and moved to Anchorage the day after graduation. As a young pup, I associated with M. Ashley Dickerson, Phillip Weidner, and Edgar P. Boyko, and then went out my own, providing criminal defense representation including the infamous walrus round-up case and the murder trial of Tracy McCracken, a paraplegic charged with murdering his personal care attendant.

In 2009, there was a string of homeless deaths, which the Alaska Medical Examiner had ruled were the result of “natural causes.” While attending a legal seminar, I learned of a little-known law that permits the medical examiner to declare death by natural causes without performing an autopsy. These deaths and that loophole inspired me to write Deadly Solution.

Based upon that manuscript, I won the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic grant in 2015, which led to my introduction into the crime-fiction community and ultimately a three-book deal. Deadly Solution was published in January of 2018. Hemlock Needle, inspired by Native corporation contracts, is scheduled for release in 2019. Hell and High Water, a “country estate” mystery, set in a Seward ecolodge socked in during a pineapple express, will be published in 2020.

Keenan Powell

Keenan Powell

June 7, 2018–Laurel Bill–Aunt Phil’s Trunk history series provides entertainment, education and preservation of Alaska’s incredible past for adults and children alike

Third-generation Alaskan Laurel Downing Bill wrote and published the entertaining five-book Aunt Phil’s Trunk Alaska history series, winning the 2016 Literary Classics International award for best nonfiction series worldwide. She also wrote Sourdough Cookery, which features 100 sourdough recipes and a starter that began with her great-grandfather in 1896 Hope, Alaska.

Laurel writes stories for various Alaska newspapers and magazines, as well, and has won several awards for her work from the Alaska Professional Communicators, Eric Hoffer Excellence in Independent Publishing, Best Books, Shelf Unbound and Readers’ Favorite.

Born in Fairbanks, Laurel also lived in Juneau and King Salmon before moving into Anchorage in 1997. She says she’s a late bloomer, as she began her journalism education at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1999. While interning with the Alaska Newspaper chain during her junior year, she wrote a story titled Life or Meth about methamphetamine cooks, sellers and users in Anchorage. It won sixth place in the national 2002 William Randolph Hearst competition.

Laurel graduated with her degree in 2003 and says that this new chapter of her life during “retirement” is the best yet and she’s having the time of her life bringing Alaska’s colorful past to life.

Laurel Bill

Laurel Bill

March 1, 2018–Stan Jones and Patricia Watts–How to collaborate on a book without ending up wanting to kill yourself, your collaborator, or both, and instead produce a book that someone actually wants to publish

Stan Jones is author of the Nathan Active mystery series, which is set in a fictional Inupiat Eskimo village modeled on Kotzebue. Five volumes have been published and the sixth–The Big Empty–is due out later this year from Soho Press.

He is also co-author with Sharon Bushell of “The Spill: Personal Stories from the Exxon Valdez” disaster.

The Nathan Active series has been optioned for television, but the producers don’t tell Stan much about how they’re actually doing with the project. Their attitude seems to be, “You took the money. Now take a hike.”

Stan was born in Anchorage and has also lived in Fairbanks and Kotzebue, where he flew Bush planes, but only for fun. He had careers as a journalist and as an environmentalist. He now lives with his wife in what is increasingly known–much to his dismay–as “trendy” Spenard. His wife is a state epidemiologist specializing in HIV and STDs, so much of her work is also in Spenard!


Patricia Watts was an “Air Force brat” born at Ladd Field (now Fort Wainwright). Three decades later, she returned to Alaska, after writing and editing for newspapers in Texas and Hawaii. There she continued a twenty-year journalism career as arts and features editor at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

After raising two children, becoming a grandma, and finding her inner redhead, Watts published her first novel, Watchdogs, a steamy, noir mystery set in Fairbanks, in 2013.

Her newly published noir suspense novel, The Frayer, features a Fairbanks apartment building as one of the characters, along with the quirky residents inside its walls.

Watts collaborated with Alaska mystery novelist Stan Jones on The Big Empty, the next installment in the Nathan Active series, due to be released in late 2018.

Watts worked as a human rights investigator in Anchorage for nine years before recently relocating to San Diego, California, after twenty-six years in Alaska.

Nov 2, 2017–David Jensen–Paws Along the Trail

David Jensen, author and owner of Pet-ography, will present “Paws along the Trail,” describing his love for animals and how those relationships have contributed to his writing projects.

Jensen is a third-generation Alaskan, born in Fairbanks. His family moved to Anchorage in 1963 just before the Great Alaska Earthquake. David graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1989 with a degree in Journalism and Public Communications. That same year, he created Alaska Pet-ography, his home-based business specializing in portraits of animal companions and their people.

In 2013, David published his first book, It’s Important to Paws, Lessons learned from Animal Companions. This coffee-table book is a collection of writings and hundreds of portraits featuring dogs, cats, horses, and many other beautiful companions. The book received the 2014 Independent Publisher’s National Gold Medal award in the category of animals and pets. His second book, When Age has no Leash, Lessons Learned from Senior Dogs, was published in 2014. Jensen just introduced two additional books: Paws on the Trail, Hiking with Layla and Friends in Alaska and Puppy Me with Love.

April 14, 2016–Our critics’ favorite Alaska books of the year (APC’s April 2016 speaker lauded in 12/13/15 article)

Editor’s note: Every week, David A. James and Nancy Lord have reviewed books by Alaska authors or about the 49th state. They have not, they’ll be quick to tell you, read every Alaska book published over the last year or so. Consequently, they recoil at the idea of a top 10 list of Alaska books.

What follows instead is a short piece by each author, touching on some of their favorites. It’s neither comprehensive nor definitive. But it may prove useful to readers looking for Alaska books as holiday gifts or for suggestions of worthy books they may have missed. And there’s no doubt that Nancy and David read more Alaska books than most of us. 

Excerpt: A close second was “Rhythm of the Wild: A Life Inspired by Denali National Park” by Alaskan author Kim Heacox. It’s the story of how the author found Alaska and thus himself in the state’s best-known park. While Denali serves as base camp and provides the landscape for much of what he writes here, Heacox’s mind wanders widely over politics, environmental crises, personal philosophy and how one can escape the world by diving into the wilderness, only to find that world hot on one’s hiking boots. This book does with Denali what Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire” did with Arches National Park, showing how freedom and wilderness are bound together, and how the loss of one is both caused by and leads to the destruction of the other.

Kim Heacox will be APC’s luncheon speaker for April 2016. Sign up for the luncheon.

Read the article at Alaska Dispatch News

Nov. 5, 2015–Will Jacobs–Becoming UAA: 1954-2014

W. A. (Will) Jacobs is Professor Emeritus of History and Political Science in the University of Alaska Anchorage. He was born in Greenville, South Carolina and raised in rural Wisconsin. Educated at Wisconsin State University-Eau Claire  (B.S. 1966) and the University of Oregon (M.A. 1968, Ph.D. 1972), he taught briefly at WSU-Eau Claire, Earlham College, and Oregon before his appointment as Assistant Professor of History in the Senior College of the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 1973. He did post doctoral study in the King’s College, University of London Department of War Studies in 1979-80.

Jacobs served in the UAA History Department until 1989, then in Political Science for a further ten years. After leading UAA’s reaccreditation effort in 1999-2000, he was appointed Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in 2001. He retired in 2002, owing to illness. After retirement, he returned to work on a part-time basis in the Office of Academic Affairs, occasionally returning to the classroom.

Over the course of nearly forty years of service to UAA in its several iterations, Jacobs taught modern European and Economic History, International Relations, U.S. Foreign Policy, the History of Warfare, and the History of the Second World War. His published research has focused on American and British tactical and strategic air operations in that conflict. He began this short introductory history of UAA in 2004 as part of the effort that resulted in the UAA History Wall, now mounted on the third floor wall of the UAA/APU Consortium Library.

Jacobs returned to the Midwest in 2013 and now lives with his wife, Mina, in Saint Paul, Minnesota to be closer to family and the Green Bay Packers.

View University of Alaska Anchorage Press Release regarding Becoming UAA: 1954-2014

Will Jacobs

Will Jacobs