Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of four novels and numerous short stories, essays and articles published in Salon, The Washington Post, Gourmet and The New York Times. Her novels include Birds of Paradise; Origin; Crescent, winner of the 2004 PEN Center USA Award for Literary Fiction and the American Book Award; and Arabian Jazz, winner of the 1994 Oregon Book Award. Her memoir, The Language of Baklava, was honored with a 2006 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. A frequent contributor to NPR, she teaches at Portland State University and divides her time between Portland and Miami.
Kathleen Alcalá is the author of a short story collection, three novels set in 19th Century Mexico and the Southwest, and a collection of essays based on her family history. Ursula K. Le Guin said of her first collection, “This is a book of wonders … The kingdom of Borges and García Marquez lie just over the horizon, but this landscape of desert towns and dreaming hearts … is Alcalá-land. It lies just across the border between Mexico and California, across the border between the living and the dead, across all the borders – a true new world.” Alcalá’s novel Spirits of the Ordinary: A Tale of Casas Grandes was honored in 1998 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. She teaches fiction at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island.
Sandra Alcosser grew up in South Bend, Indiana and moved to Montana thirty years ago to work with the Montana Arts Council. She is the author of Except by Nature, which was honored in 1999 with the William Stafford Memorial Poetry Award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. The booksellers called her poems “full of life lived just a little on the wild side.” Poems from Alcosser’s seven books have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. She is a professor of poetry, fiction and feminist poetics at San Diego State University and divides her time between San Diego and Florence, Montana. She was Montana’s Poet Laureate from 2005 – 2007.
Sherman Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane, WA. As a teenager, Alexie decided to attend high school off the reservation in nearby Reardan. At Reardan High he was the only Indian, except for the school mascot. This experience inspired his first young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, which won a PNBA Award in 2008 and was a 2007 National Book Award Winner. A recipient of numerous awards for his work as a poet, novelist, short story writer and performer, The New York Times Book Review called Alexie “one of the major lyric voices of our time.” Alexie lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons.
Keith Baker grew up in Oregon and graduated from Eastern Oregon State College. After seven years of teaching elementary school, he returned to school to study illustration. Baker’s honors and awards include Parents’ Choice Awards for illustration for The Dove’s Letter and Who is the Beast?; a Golden Kite Award for Big Fat Hen; and an award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest for The Magic Fan (1990), which was also a School Library Journal best book of the year. A recipient of a UNICEF-Ezra Jack Keats International Award for excellence in children’s illustration, Baker lives in Seattle.
Kim Barnes spent the majority of her childhood in the isolated settlements and cedar camps along the North Fork of Idaho’s Clearwater River. In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country, her first memoir, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, received a PEN/Jerard Fund Award and a PNBA Award. Barnes is the author of three novels: Finding Caruso; A Country Called Home, winner of the 2009 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Fiction and named a Best Book of 2008 by The Oregonian; and In the Kingdom of Men, a story set in 1960s Saudi Arabia, listed among the Best Books of 2012 by San Francisco Chronicle and The Seattle Times. Her essays, stories, and poems have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies. She teaches writing at the University of Idaho and lives with her husband, the poet Robert Wrigley, on Moscow Mountain.
Barbara Helen Berger grew up in Seattle loving to draw and paint. For ten years, she worked as a painter with gallery shows in Seattle and in 1980 she turned her focus to children’s books. She’s the author and illustrator of ten books and the recipient of numerous awards including twice a Washington State Governor’s Writers Award. Grandfather Twilight, her best-known picture book, has been called a goodnight classic and A Lot of Otters won a 1998 PNBA Award. Berger’s personal essays and memoir have appeared in Exhibition, Crone Chronicles, Snowy Egret and in two anthologies. In recent years she’s been a frequent contributor to Parabola. Berger lives on Bainbridge Island.
David Biespiel is the founder and executive director of the Attic Writers’ Workshop in Portland. His books include Shattering Air, Wild Civility, The Book of Men and Women and Long Journey: Contemporary Northwest Poets, for which he was honored with a 2007 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. He currently divides his teaching among three universities: Wake Forest University, Oregon State University and Pacific Lutheran University. Biespiel is a contributor to American Poetry Review, Parnassus, Poetry, Slate, The New York Times Book Review and The New Republic. Since 2002 he has been a poetry columnist for The Oregonian.
Mary Clearman Blew
Mary Clearman Blew grew up on a small cattle ranch in Montana, on the site of her great-grandfather’s 1882 homestead. Her memoir All But the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family and her short story collection, Runaway, were both honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest (in 1992 and 1991, respectively). A novel, Jackalope Dreams, released in 2008, won the Western Heritage Center’s prize for fiction. Other awards include the Mahan Award for contributions to Montana literature, the Idaho Humanities Council’s 2001 Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities, a Handcart Award for Biography, and the Western Literature Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She has taught creative writing at the University of Idaho since 1994.
Jennifer Blomgren is a native Pacific Northwesterner who as a child continually bedeviled her mother by tackling large and very messy art projects in the kitchen. Blomgren worked as a registered nurse before becoming a full-time author and artist. She has a greeting card business and has written four children’s books: The Tale of Alice’s Quilt, Where Would I Be in an Evergreen Tree?, Why Do I Sing?: Animal Songs of the Pacific Northwest and Where Do I Sleep? A Pacific Northwest Lullaby, which was illustrated by Andrea Gabriel and honored in 2002 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest.
A native of the Chicago area, Dave Boling is a novelist and sports columnist in Washington. According to the Tacoma News Tribune, he wrote portions of his debut novel, Guernica, in airports during layovers, on long flights and in hotel rooms. A work of historical fiction set during the Spanish Civil War, Guernica won a PNBA Award in 2009 and was also a finalist for a Washington State Book Award. “Boling writes with a reporter’s eye and a novelist’s heart and imagination,” says The Oregonian.
Gary Braasch is a nature and environmental photojournalist who was awarded the Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography by the Sierra Club and named Outstanding Nature Photographer by the North American Nature Photography Association. Braasch may be best known for Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World, for which he traveled to 22 nations on seven continents. Braasch wrote a multiple-award winning companion book for middle school kids with Lynne Cherry, about climate science and citizen science, How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate. His other books include Photographing the Patterns of Nature; Entering the Grove, with essays by Kim Stafford; and Secrets of the Old Growth Forest, with David Kelly, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1989. Braasch lives in Portland.
Seattle’s Rebecca Brown has 11 books to her credit, but she also is well known for her teaching, activism and outreach. Brown has taught in academic and community settings for more than 30 years. She was the first writer in residence at Richard Hugo House and has taught there frequently ever since. She is the co-founder of the Jack Straw Writers Program and served as the creative director of literature at Centrum in Port Townsend. Brown’s best-known work is The Gifts of the Body, a haunting novel about an AIDS caregiver. It was honored in 1995 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest.
Deb Caletti is the award-winning young adult author of a dozen books, including The Queen of Everything; Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, which was honored with an award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2005; Wild Roses; The Nature of Jade; The Fortunes of Indigo Skye; and The Secret Life of Prince Charming. Caletti grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and earned her journalism degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. When Caletti is not writing books or reading them, she is a painter and a lyricist and speaks widely to audiences on writing and life as an author. Caletti lives with her family in Seattle.
Kevin Canty is the author of three collections of short stories (Where the Money Went, Honeymoon: And Other Stories and A Stranger In This World) and four novels (Everything, Nine Below Zero, Into the Great Wide Open and Winslow in Love). His short stories have appeared in the The New Yorker, Esquire, Tin House, GQ, Glimmer Train, Story, New England Review and elsewhere; essays and articles in Vogue, Details, The New York Times and the Oxford American, among others. Canty won a Pacific Northwest Book Award in 1997 for Into the Great Wide Open, and three of his books have been named as notable books by the New York Times Book Review. He teaches fiction at the University of Montana. NW Book Lovers reprinted a graduation speech he gave at the University of Montana.
One of the great fiction writers of our time, Raymond Carver published five collections of short stories, including Cathedral, which won a PNBA Award in 1984, eight collections of poetry and numerous compilations. Known as a writer of “astonishing compassion and honesty,” Carver described himself as “inclined toward brevity and intensity” in the foreword of his collection of short stories Where I’m Calling From. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1979 and was twice awarded grants from the National Endowment of the Arts. In 1988, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded him a fellowship to write full-time. He died of cancer in 1988 and is survived by his wife, the poet Tess Gallagher.
Robert Clark spent many years as a freelance journalist and editor specializing in travel, food and wine. His career in this area culminated with his first book, The Solace of Food: A Life of James Beard. His other nonfiction books include River of the West: Stories from the Columbia, My Grandfather’s House: A Genealogy of Doubt and Faithand Bayham House: Essays in Longing. Clark’s several novels include In the Deep Midwinter, Lives of the Artists, Love Among the Ruins, and Mr. White’s Confession, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1999. Clark lives in Seattle with his wife, Caroline, and children. He teaches in the MFA program at Seattle Pacific University and at conferences and workshops.
An Oregon native, Robin Cody is the author of the novelRicochet River and the nonfiction titleVoyage of a Summer Sun: Canoeing the Columbia River, both of which appear on the Oregon State Library’s “150 Oregon Books for the Oregon Sesquicentennial” list. Voyage of a Summer Sun won the Oregon Book Award for literary nonfiction and a 1996 PNBA Award. Cody has worked as an English teacher, a dean of college admissions, a baseball umpire, and a school bus driver. He lives in Portland.
Michael Collins is author of eight novels and the screenplay for “Julia,” a French film starring Tilda Swinton. His novels include Death of a Writer, The Keepers of Truth, and The Resurrectionists, which was honored in 2003 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Collins is related to the Irish Nationalist hero of the same name and most of his work deals with the social and economic inequality that he witnessed while growing up in Ireland and after immigrating to America. Collins is also an ultra-runner and has run the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race, the Mt. Everest Challenge Marathon and in 2006 he won the North Pole Marathon and Sahara Half, just five weeks apart.
Langdon Cook is a writer, instructor and lecturer on wild foods and the outdoors. His books include Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager and The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America, which won a PNBA award in 2014. The booksellers described Cook as “marvelous company–bright, inquisitive, and up for an adventure.” He wrote about his award-winning book on NW Book Lovers. He lives in Seattle with his wife, the poet Martha Silano, and their two children.
Stephen Cosgrove is the international children’s author of the Serendipity book series featuring, with illustrator Robin James: Leo the Lop, Flutterby, Wheedle on the Needle and 65 other titles. Cosgrove founded Serendipity Press in 1974 when he couldn’t find a suitable publisher for his books. Within four years, the series sold two million copies. He then merged his company with P/S/S-Penguin Putnam so he could focus on writing. Cosgrove has authored more than 325 titles, including Ira Wordworthy, with illustrator Wendy Edelson, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1990. In addition to his children’s books, he has written a variety of middle grade readers and young adult novels including the Bump in the Night, The Snuffin Chronicles, and Tradin’ Trolls. Born and raised in the Northwest, Cosgrove now makes his home in Austin, Texas.
Dan T. Coxwww.dantcox.com
Dan T. Cox was born in 1953 in Corvallis, Oregon. He grew up in Oregon’s North Santiam Canyon, earned a journalism degree from the University of Oregon, became part of Portland’s advertising creative community, and now lives in Ridgefield, Washington. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals such as Weber Studies and Skyline. A Bigger Piece of Blue is his debut book.
Chris Crutcher grew up in Cascade, Idaho, a logging town north of Boise. His 13 novels and two collections of short stories are informed by his years as a teacher, as director of a K-12 alternative school and as a therapist specializing in abuse and neglect. He’s also written an autobiography, King of the Mild Frontier, that Publishers Weekly called “the YA book most adults would have read if they knew it existed.” Five of Crutcher’s books appeared on an American Library Association’s list of the 100 Best Books for Teens of the 20th Century. Whale Talk was honored in 2002 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest and won numerous other awards including a Washington State Book Award. Crutcher is a popular columnist (Voices from the Middle, Family Energy Magazine, the Signal Journal, iParenting) and makes his home in Spokane.
Children’s author Kurt Cyrus has worked as a fruit picker, forklift driver, respiratory therapist, rock drill operator, picture framer and concrete mixer for burial vaults. He has written and illustrated eight picture books and has illustrated another ten that were written by other authors. His Hotel Deep: Light Verse from Dark Water, a poetic adventure in the underwater world of the ocean, was honored with a 2006 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Cyrus has done interior illustrations for M.T. Anderson’s Thrilling Tales series and cover art for various titles, including a version of Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg. He lives in Cottage Grove, Oregon with his partner, Linnea, and a pet dog.
Carmela D’Amico completed her first children’s book when she was just five and has been writing ever since. Working with illustrator Steve D’Amico, D’Amico has introduced readers to an engaging animal character in the children’s books Ella the Elegant Elephant, which was honored by independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2005, Ella Takes the Cake, Ella Sets the Stage, and Ella Sets Sail.
Born in South Carolina and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., John Daniel has lived in the West since 1966. He has worked as a logger, railroad inspector, rock climbing instructor, hod carrier and poet-in-the-schools. His books include Looking After: A Son’s Memoir; Winter Creek: One Writer’s Natural History; and three books of poetry, Of Earth: New and Selected Poems; Common Ground; and All Things Touched By Wind. Rogue River Journal: A Winter Alone, a blend of three nonfiction narratives, was honored with a 2006 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. The Far Corner: Northwestern Views on Land, Life, and Literature won a 2011 Oregon Book Award. Daniel lives with his wife in the Coast Range foothills west of Eugene and works as a writer and workshop teacher.
Craig Joseph Dannerwww.himalayandhaba.com
Craig Joseph Danner is a native Oregonian who earned a degree in creative writing from Evergreen State College. His debut novel, Himalayan Dhaba, was first published in 2001, and quickly became a bookseller favorite, winning a 2002 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. He is a Physician Assistant, and has spent over ten years as a rural volunteer firefighter and emergency medical responder. A full-time novelist, he spends his non-writing time with his family and works on-call as a medico-legal death investigator.
TOD DAVIES is the author of The History of Arcadia series: Snotty Saves the Day, Lily the Silent, The Lizard Princess and now Report to Megalopolis: The Post-modern Prometheus, which Kirkus Reviews called “A philosophical fable.”
Tod is also the author two cooking memoirs Jam Today: A Diary of Cooking With What You’ve Got and Jam Today Too: The Revolution Will Not Be Catered.
Claire Davis is the author of Season of the Snake and Winter Range, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2001 (it also received an award from the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association). Her stories have appeared in The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Ploughshares, have been read on National Public Radio’s Selected Shorts program, and have been selected for the Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Price anthologies. Davis lives in Lewiston, Idaho where she teaches creative writing at Lewis-Clark State College. She also teaches for Pacific University.
Alexandra Day is the pen name for children’s book author and illustrator Sandra Louise Woodward Darling. Darling and her husband, Harold, whom Darling credits with writing and conceiving many of Day’s books, have produced more than twenty titles, including the Good Dog, Carl series, which was honored with a 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Darling, who once said that “Genuinesness is the one essential ingredient in a children’s book,” lives with her husband in Seattle.
Patrick deWitt was born in British Columbia in 1975. He is the author of two novels, Ablutions: Notes for a Noveland The Sisters Brothers, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize and won a 2012 Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (“With off-kilter wit and the kind of charm that should leave the Coen Brothers tickled, deWitt has crafted a Western novel for people who think they don’t like Westerns.”—PNBA booksellers). He celebrated the award with this post for NW Book Lovers. He lives with his wife and son in Portland.
William Dietrich grew up near the Puget Sound in the shadow of Mount Rainier and has returned to live nearby. The Pulitzer-winning journalist has written about the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens, the Arctic, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. “The influence of dramatic landscapes on people infuses not only my nonfiction but my novels, set in Antarctica, the Australian Outback, the barbarian fringes of the Roman Empire, the sands of the Middle East, Tibet, the Caribbean …” he writes. Dietrich’s first book, The Final Forest: Big Trees, Forks and the Pacific Northwest, grew out of his reporting on the spotted owl and old growth forest debate and was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1993. Other books include Northwest Passage, an environmental and cultural history of the Columbia River inspired by its imperiled salmon runs and epic pioneer past;Natural Grace: The Charm, Wonder, and Lessons of Pacific Northwest Animals and Plants;The Scourge of God; Napoleon’s Pyramids; The Dakota Cipher; and The Barbary Pirates.
Ann Dixon is a writer, librarian and the author of nine books for children, including Blueberry Shoe, Alone Across the Arctic: One Woman’s Epic Journey by Dog Team and The Sleeping Lady, honored with an award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1995. Her poetry for children appears in the anthology Once Upon Ice and Other Frozen Poems, as well as Cricket and Ladybug magazines. Dixon is director of the Homer Public Library. She blogs about Alaska books and writing for children at Kid Lit North.
Anthony Doerr is the author of The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World, and Memory Wall, which won a 2011 Award from the independent booksellers of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Doerr’s short fiction has won four O. Henry Prizes and has been widely anthologized. He was won many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Fiction, three Pushcart Prizes and the 2010 Story Prize. He teaches now and then in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. Doerr lives in Boise with his wife and two sons. Read his essay for NW Book Lovers, On Books, Memory and the Twelve Bright Stars Scratched Across Page 302.
Ivan Doig holds the distinction of having won more PNBA awards than any other Northwest author (This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind, 1978; English Creek, 1985; Dancing at the Rascal Fair, 1988; Heart Earth, 1994; and The Whistling Season, 2007). This Montana-born former newspaperman and ranch hand lovingly wrote the American West in both fiction and non-fiction. We like the way he described his “literary begats” here. He passed away in 2015 and is survived by his wife, Carol, who has taught the literature of the American West. Read his interview with bookseller René Kirkpatrick on NW Book Lovers.
David James Duncan
Novelist and essayist David James Duncan is best known for his two bestselling novels, The River Why and The Brothers K, both about flyfishing, baseball, and family. The two, as well as his discourse about Christian convservatives, God Laughs & Plays: Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalist Right, have been honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. His recent book, The Heart of the Monster: Why the Pacific Northwest & Northern Rockies Must Not Become an ExxonMobil Conduit to the Alberta Tar Sands, co-authored with Rick Bass, is a protest against the construction of a permanent industrial corridor on rural roads in the Northwest and Northern Rockies. Duncan was born in Portland and now lives with his family in southwestern Montana, where he works with the American Rivers Association toward removing four dams on the Snake River.
Timothy Egan describes himself as “one of the many insignificant bi peds systematically trying to create my own slice of nirvana here on earth.” Pretty humble stuff for a guy who has won both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award—not to mention two PNBA Book Awards (for the The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest, 1991, and The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America, 2009). He lives in Seattle, where he contributes opinion columns to The New York Times as the paper’s Pacific Northwest correspondent.
Keith Ervin has been a staff reporter for The Seattle Times since 1990. He covers King County government, Seattle public schools and suburban cities. His popular science book, Fragile Majesty: The Battle for North America’s Last Great Forest, was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1990. Ervin lives in Seattle.
Jonathan Evison has won two PNBA book awards so far, for novels West of Here (in 2012) and The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (2013), and his debut novel, All About Lulu, won a Washington State Book Award in 2008. We like the bio he wrote here and you can read an essay he wrote for NW Book Lovers here. In an introduction to an interview on NW Book Lovers, bookseller Lindsey McGuirk writes: “Jonathan Evison has become a bit of a darling in the book world, and it’s no wonder why. Indie booksellers love him because he’s an advocate for indie bookstores. His publisher, Algonquin Books, loves him because he’s charismatic and willing to get out there among booksellers and readers. And readers love him because, well, he knows how to write a book that’s worth reading.”
William E. Farr
William E. Farr holds the A. B. Hammond Chair in Western History at The University of Montana, where he specializes in the environmental and cultural history of the West. He is the author of eight books, most recently Horizontal Yellow, The Natural West, and Reservation Blackfeet, 1882-1945: A Photographic History of Cultural Survival, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1985. His work on the environment, art and culture of the West also appears in magazines.
Brenda Lena Fazio
Brenda Lena Fazio is a children’s book author and illustrator who lives in Gig Harbor, Washington. Grandfather’s Story was honored in 1997 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. It’s about a grandfather who thinks he’s too old to be useful and then has a dream that teaches him better.
Gary Ferguson believes that strong writing grows out of strong experience. Hence, Ferguson has hiked and skied thousands of miles through high deserts and forests, canoed countless miles of wild rivers, and explored some of the remotest corners of the Earth. He is the author of 16 books on nature, science and history. His recent work, Hawks Rest: A Season in the Remote Heart of Yellowstone, became the first book in history to win nonfiction Book of The Year from both the independent booksellers of the Northwest, as well Mountains and Plains booksellers associations. Ferguson’s nature and science-based essays can be heard on National Public Radio affiliates throughout the country.
Photographer Natalie Fobes has three books under her belt, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in a writing category, has a traveling museum exhibit and is a popular wedding and portrait photographer in Seattle. Her book, with co-authors Tom Jay and Brad Matsen, Reaching Home: Pacific Salmon, Pacific People, was honored in 1995 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. When not on assignment Fobes lives with her family on a bluff overlooking Puget Sound and wishes she was sailing.
Richard Ford is the author of six novels and four collections of stories. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Independence Day; it was the first time the same book had won both prizes. After publishing two modestly successful novels he turned away from literature and tried sportswriting, working for Inside Sports magazine until it ceased publication in 1982. When Sports Illustrated failed to offer a position he turned back to fiction. The result was The Sportswriter. Soon after came Rock Springs, which contains several widely anthologized short stories and was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1988. Ford lives in New York and Maine.
Louise Freeman-Toole is the author of Standing Up to the Rock, a memoir of life on a historic cattle ranch in Idaho’s Hells Canyon. Standing Up to the Rock was honored with a 2002 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. She has been writer in residence at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway, Alaska, and the Island Institute, in Sitka, Alaska. Louise Freeman Toole lives in a remote village on the Alaska-Yukon border.
Pete Fromm’s fiction and nonfiction books have won awards from the independent booksellers of the Pacific Northwest an impressive four times for As Cool As I Am, How All This Started, Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness and Night Swimming. As Cool As I Am is also a feature film starring Claire Danes, James Marsden and Sarah Bolger, and Dry Rain is a short film starring James LeGros and Nathan Gamble. Fromm has published more than 200 short stories in magazines. He is on the faculty of Pacific University’s low-residency MFA writing program and lives in Great Falls, Montana, with his wife and two children.
Robert Fulghum has published eight best-selling books of nonfiction, including It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It; Maybe (Maybe Not): Second Thoughts from a Secret Life; From Beginning To End – The Rituals of Our Lives and All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1989. Fulghum, a Grammy nominee for the Spoken Word Award, served as a Unitarian parish minister for 22 years. He has four children and nine grandchildren and divides his time between Seattle and the Moab, Utah.
Science fiction author William Gibson has written more than 20 short stories and ten critically acclaimed novels, and has contributed articles to several major publications as well as collaborated extensively with performance artists, filmmakers and musicians. His books include Zero History, Spook Country, Neuromancer, and Mona Lisa Overdrive, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1989. Gibson is credited with launching the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction and with coining the term “cyberspace.” He writes his story here. Gibson lives in Vancouver, B.C.
Molly Gloss is a fourth-generation Oregonian whose novel The Jump-Off Creek was a PEN/Faulkner finalist, a winner of the Oregon Book Award and a PNBA Award (1990). William Kittredge called it “a truly beautiful piece of American storytelling.” Her novel The Dazzle of Day was a New York Times Notable Book and Wild Life won the James Tiptree Award and was the 2002 selection for “If All Seattle Read the Same Book.” Twice a recipient of a Whiting Foundation Award, Gloss lives in Portland. She writes here about becoming a writer.
A former high school English teacher, David Guterson is a novelist, short story writer, poet, journalist and essayist who is best known for his best-selling novel Snow Falling on Cedars, which won a PNBA Award and a PEN/Faulkner Award in 1995. The book was adapted as a screenplay for the 1999 film of the same title. A Guggenheim Fellow, Guterson lives on Bainbridge Island with his wife and four children and is co-founder of Field’s End, an organization for writers.
Born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1924, John Haines is the author of more than ten collections of poetry, including For the Century’s End: Poems 1990-1999, At the End of This Summer: Poems 1948-1954 and The Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1994. He also published a book of essays entitled Fables and Distances: New and Selected Essays, and a memoir, The Stars, the Snow, the Fire: Twenty-five Years in the Northern Wilderness. Haines spent more than twenty years homesteading in Alaska, and taught at Ohio University, George Washington University, and the University of Cincinnati. Harper’s critic Hayden Carruth once described Haines as “one of our best nature poets, or for that matter one of the best nature writers of any kind.” He died in 2011 in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Hamill is the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry, including Destination Zero: Poems 1970–1995, Almost Paradise: New and Selected Poems and Translations, and Dumb Luck, which was honored in 2003 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Hamill has also published several collections of essays and numerous translations, including Crossing the Yellow River: 300 Poems from the Chinese. When First Lady Laura Bush invited Hamill to a 2003 White House symposium on poetry, he declined in protest of the impending war in Iraq, and instead launched the website poetsagainstthewar.org, an online anthology that has collected over 20,000 poems of protest and spawned an international movement.
Alex Hancock’s book Into the Light, about a dying man’s love for his grandson, was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1987.
Thor Hanson is an author and conservation biologist, a Switzer Environmental fellow, a teacher and a sought-after public speaker. His first nonfiction book, The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda, won the 2008 USA Book News Award for nature writing, and his second, Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle, won a PNBA Award in 2012 (“Hanson’s well-researched book is like sitting down for a lively chat with a particularly bright friend.”—PNBA booksellers). Read his celebratory essay for NW Book Lovers. Hanson was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where he now lives on an island with his wife and son.
The author of more than 30 books, Jim Harrison is known for his poetry, fiction, essays and reviews, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, Outside, Playboy and Men’s Journal. In a 2010 profile on Book Beast, the author John Avlon calls Harrison “arguably America’s greatest living author—and certainly our earthiest.” Harrison’s novella Legends of the Fall was made into a film. Returning to Earth was Harrison’s ninth novel and was honored with a 2008 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Harrison divides his time between residences in Patagonia, Arizona and Livingston, Montana, where he still writes in longhand, at the dining room table.
Ursula Hegi lived in West Germany until she was 18 before coming to the United States. Her books include Stones from the River, a best-selling Oprah’s Book Club novel; Intrusions; Tearing the Silence: On Growing Up German in America; Sacred Time; and The Worst Thing I’ve Done. Her novel Floating in My Mother’s Palm was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1991. She has also written reviews for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. For many years, she taught creative writing at Eastern Washington University. She teaches writing at Stonybrook’s Southhampton Campus and is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards.
Best known for his short-short stories about “the boys,” Jim Heynen has published widely as a writer of poems, novels, nonfiction, and short fiction. His stories about “the boys” have been featured often on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and Minnesota astronaut George Pinky Nelson took a taped collection for bedtime listening on his last space mission. Heynen’s collection You Know What is Right was honored in 1986 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. He wrote an essay for NW Book Lovers after the publication of his first novel, The Fall of Alice K. Heynen lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Though a poet of the Pacific Northwest, Richard Hugo was widely admired nationally and inspired many beginning poets in his classes at the University of Montana and through his book The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and on Writing, which is “directed toward helping [the writer] with that silly, absurd, maddening, futile, enormously rewarding activity: writing poems.” Among his most well-known books are Death of the Kapowsin Tavern, Good Luck in Cracked Italian, What Thou Lovest Well, Remains American, 31 Letters and 13 Dreams, The Right Madness on Skye, and Making Certain It Goes On: The Collected Poems, honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1985. Hugo died in 1982 at the age of fifty-eight.
Linda Lawrence Hunt
Linda Lawrence Hunt is the author of Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America, which was honored in 2004 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Hunt researched Helga Estby’s epic walk across Victorian America for her Ph.D. dissertation at Gonzaga University. She traveled throughout America and in Norway to reconstruct Helga’s silenced story and the tapestry of a transitional era between Victorian assumptions and the “new woman” emerging at the turn-of-the-century. Hunt now directs the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship, which encourages other young adults engaged in global service. Linda lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband and daughters.
Dayton O. Hydewww.daytonohyde.com
Dayton O. Hyde is a rancher, photographer, essayist and author of 17 books, including Sandy: The Sandhill Crane Who Joined Our Family, Don Coyote, Yamsi: A Year in the Life of a Wilderness Ranch, and The Major, The Poacher, and the Wonderful One-Trout River, honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1986. He is a self-trained naturalist and now runs The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, an 11,000-acre ranch in Western South Dakota.
Eowyn Ivey is a bookseller (Fireside Books) and author, whose “quiet, magical, unmistakably Alaskan” debut novel, The Snow Child, won a PNBA Award in 2014. Hailed as “if Willa Cather and Gabriel García Marquéz had collaborated on a book,” the novel was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for fiction. NW Book Lovers interviewed Ivey about her double life as an author/bookseller here and published her essay How a Bookstore Changed my World. Ivey lives in Palmer, Alaska with her husband and two daughters.
Tom Jay has been an active member of the Northwest Art Community since 1966, when he built the first bronze casting facility for Seattle University. He went on to supervise and construct casting facilities at the University of Washington. He established Riverdog Fine Arts Foundry which cast, in addition to his own work, for notable Northwest sculptors. His book, with co-authors Natalie Fobes and Brad Matsen, Reaching Home: Pacific Salmon, Pacific People, was honored in 1995 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest.
Artist Elizabeth Johns is the illustrator of Sunflower Sal and The Sleeping Lady, which was honored with an award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1995. She has been painting and showing her work for nearly 40 years, both in the Pacific Northwest, where she lived for many years, and in the Blue Ridge Mountains of east Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and works from a studio in their home.
Charles Johnson is the author of four novels, two collections of short stories and several screenplays. His historical novel Middle Passage was honored by the independent booksellers in 1992 and received the 1990 National Book Award, making Johnson the first African-American male to win this prize since Ralph Ellison in 1953. Among many other honors, Johnson, a Ph.D. in philosophy, was a 1998 MacArthur fellow and a 2002 recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature. He is a former director of the creative writing program at the University of Washington, where he currently teaches fiction.
Denis Johnson has produced poetry, non-fiction, plays and ten books of fiction, including Jesus’ Son, which was made into a 1999 award-winning movie, and Tree of Smoke, for which he was honored with a 2008 award from the independent book sellers of the Northwest and with a 2007 National Book Award. In a 2007 article for the New York Times, Johnson said his influences include Dr. Seuss, Jimi Hendrix and T. S. Eliot. “Those I admire the most and those I admired the earliest … have something to say in every line I write,” he said. Johnson was born in 1949 in Munich, West Germany and now lives in Northern Idaho.
Thom Jones worked as a copywriter and a janitor until he was discovered, well into his 40s, by the fiction editors of The New Yorker, who published a series of his short stories. One of these, The Pugilist at Rest was later published in a collection of the same name and was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1994. His story I Want To Live! was included in the anthology The Best American Short Stories of the Century. His other books include short story collections Cold Snap and Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine. Recently he has written scripts for feature films. Jones currently resides in Olympia, Washington and has temporal lobe epilepsy and suffers from diabetes, as do many of his characters.
Stephanie Kallos’s debut novel, Broken for You, was honored by a 2005 award by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Her second novel, Sing Them Home, was published in 2009. Kallos lives with her family in a north Seattle neighborhood that has no sidewalks and looks very much like a small town. Happily distracting her from writing are numerous unfinished knitting projects, a doe-eyed Labrador named Mr. Nick Tumnus, a pair of extremely vocal tabby cats, two adolescent boys who play brass instruments, and an eighty-voice Intergenerational Choir of Unitarians which she serves as conductor. She is currently working on her third novel.
Laura Kalpakian has published 10 books, including Graced Land and Dark Continent and Other Stories, which were honored with awards from the independent booksellers of the Northwest, in 1993 and 1990 respectively. Her collection Fair Augusto and Other Stories won the PEN/West Award for Best Short Fiction. Her work has been praised by The New Yorker, The Observer and the The Washington Post, which raved “Whatever happened to old-fashioned stories, with fleshed-out characters, well-crafted plots, strong themes, and palpable atmosphere? Laura Kalpakian, for one, still is writing them.” Kalpakian lives in Bellingham.
Seth Kantner is a commercial fisherman, author and wildlife photographer. He was born and raised in northern Alaska. His writing and photographs have appeared in Outside, Alaska Geographic, The New York Times, Prairie Schooner, among other magazines, literary journals and anthologies. He’s a former columnist for the Anchorage Daily News and writes a bi-monthly dispatch on climate change in the Arctic for Orion magazine. His debut novel, Ordinary Wolves, was honored with a 2005 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. His most recent book, Shopping for Porcupine: A Life in Arctic Alaska, was released in 2006. He lives in northwest Alaska with his wife, Stacey, and his daughter, China.
Mary Keliikoa writes mystery and suspense stories, and in particular, about the adventures of the tenacious PI Kelly Pruett, who has inherited her father’s agency. Book one in the series, Derailed, releases May 12, 2020. When she’s not writing, Mary enjoys time in her Hawaii home with her husband of 29 years, or back at home in Washington with the rest of the family including our two fur-kids, cooking up a gourmet meal, golfing, playing with one or all of her ten grandchildren, strumming a tune on her ukulele, or fiddling on the piano that she has played since childhood.
David Kelly is a freelance writer and editor whose background includes positions as managing editor of Oregon Magazine, staff writer for Willamette Week, and English instructor at Northwestern University. He received his bachelor’s degree in English from Brown University and presently lives in Portland, Oregon. His book Secrets of the Old Growth Forest, with co-author Gary Braasch, was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1989.
Richard Kennedy is an author and an illustrator of children’s books and young adult books. His books include The Boxcar at the Center of the Universe, The Porcelain Man, The Parrot and the Thief and Amy’s Eyes, honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1986.
Lauren Kessler is the author of seven works of narrative nonfiction, including Dancing With Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer’s, for which she was honored with a 2008 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Kessler’s other award-winning books include: Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging; My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, A Daughter, A Journey Through the Thicket of Adolescence; Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy Who Ushered in the McCarthy Era; The Happy Bottom Riding Club: The Life and Times of Pancho Barnes, Full Court Press: A Season in the Life of a Winning Basketball Team and the Women Who Made It Happen and Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family. Kessler’s journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, O Magazine, Utne Reader and Salon. Kessler directs the graduate program in multimedia narrative journalism at the University of Oregon.
Jane Kirkpatrick is a retired social worker and teacher who has written 16 books, both fiction and non-fiction, about or based on the lives of people in the American West. Her first novel, A Sweetness to the Soul, won the Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. A Tendering in the Storm won the 2007 WILLA Literary Award for Best Original Paperback, and A Flickering Light, a story based on her grandmother’s life as a turn of the century photographer, was named to Library Journal’s Best Books of 2009. Her work has also appeared in more than 50 publications, including Decision, Private Pilot and Daily Guideposts. Kirkpatrick now lives in Central Oregon (between Bend and Redmond) after homesteading for 26 years with her husband, Jerry, in a remote part of Oregon known as Starvation Point.
William Kittredge grew up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Oregon and farmed there until he was 33, after which he studied at the University of Iowa. He taught Creative Writing at the University of Montana for 29 years and retired as Regents Professor of English and Creative Writing. He’s written nine books, including Owning It All: Essays and We Are Not In This Together, both honored with awards from the independent booksellers of the Northwest, in 1988 and 1985 respectively. “To read William Kittredge is to read across the West’s spectra,” says the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest. Kittredge was winner of the Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts, co-winner of the Montana Committee for the Humanities Award for Humanist of the Year, and winner of the PEN West Award for non-fiction book of the year. He lives in Missoula, Montana.
Jon Krakauer is a journalist, author and mountaineer best known for his writing about the outdoors. Krakauer grew up in Corvallis, where his father introduced him to mountaineering as an 8-year-old. In 1996 Krakauer reached the top of Mt. Everest, but during the descent a storm engulfed the peak, taking the lives of four of the five teammates who climbed to the summit with him. Into Thin Air, his account of that experience, became a #1 New York Times bestseller and won a PNBA Award in 1998. Into the Wild, his story about a young man from a wealthy family who walked alone into the Alaskan wilderness where he died of starvation four months later, was honored by PNBA in 1997. A former Seattlite, Krakauer lives in Colorado.
Arthur Kruckeberg was born in 1920 in Los Angeles and fell in love with the plant world at an early age. In 1950, he began working as an instructor at the University of Washington, where he would work for 50 years, eventually becoming an emeritus professor of botany. Kruckeberg helped Washington state establish a Natural Area Program and served on boards of The Nature Conservancy and other conservation groups. He has written several books, including The Natural History of Puget Sound Country, honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1992.
Aryn Kyle was born in Peoria, Illinois, and grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. Her debut novel, The God of Animals, was an international bestseller and was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2008. Her short story collection, Boys and Girls Like You and Me, was published by Scribner in April, 2010. Kyle’s short fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, Best American Short Stories 2007, Best New American Voices 2005, and elsewhere. She’s the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Award and a National Magazine Award in fiction. She lives in New York City.
Erik Larson is the bestselling author of the National Book Award finalist and PNBA Award-winning The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America (2004) and the PNBA Award-winning Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History (2000). His journalism has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Time, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s and other publications. He lives in Seattle with his wife, three daughters, and a dog named Molly.
Cartoonist and author Gary Larson is famous for his syndicated cartoon, The Far Side, hailed as “unearthly and wonderful” by Time and “sinister, perhaps, and perfect” by The New York Times. The daily panel thrived for fourteen years until Larson retired in 1995. His 23 books of collected cartoons have combined sales of more than 45 million copies. His book Beyond The Far Side won a PNBA Award in 1984. Larson has also completed two animated films, Gary Larson’s Tales From The Far Side I and II. He lives in Seattle.
David Laskin has written books and articles on a wide range of subjects, including history, weather, travel, gardens and the natural world. The Children’s Blizzard, about a horrific storm that took the lives of more than 500 people in 1888, was honored in 2005 with a PNBA Award. Laskin’s other titles include Braving the Elements: The Stormy History of American Weather; Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals; A Common Life: Four Generations of American Literary Friendship and Influence; and Artists in their Gardens (co-authored with Valerie Easton). A frequent contributor to The New York Times Travel Section, Laskin also writes for the Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and Seattle Metropolitan. He and his wife, Kate O’Neill, have three grown daughters and live in Seattle. Read his essay The Voice in My Head: Ivan Doig as Neighbor, Friend and Mentor on NW Book Lovers.
“We tried to make the best book that’s ever been made in Oregon,” John Laursen said in an interview with The Oregonian. Laursen, a book designer and editor, was referring to Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge, 1867-1957, which he co-authored with his longtime friend Terry Toedtemeier, curator of photography at the Portland Art Museum, who died in 2008. Toedtemeier and Laursen formed a nonprofit, the Northwest Photography Archive, to publish books of historically and artistically significant photographs. Their book was honored in 2009 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. In 2011, Oregon’s Literary Arts presented Laursen with the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award, presented annually to “a person or organization in recognition of significant contributions that have enriched Oregon’s literary community.”
Iain Lawrence is a bestselling author for children and young adults. A former journalist, his books include The Wreckers, The Giant-Slayer, The Buccaneers and Gemini Summer, for which he won a 2007 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. In an interview with BookBrowse, Lawrence said he strives to create a feeling for his readers that, “The story is utterly true at the time of its reading—that if you so much as move, you’ll scare the bird away.” Lawrence now lives in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands with his partner, Kristin; his dog, Misty; and his cat, Sailor Sam.
As a girl growing up in remote central Oregon, Sarahlee Lawrence dreamed of leaving her small town in search of adventure. By the age of twenty-one, she had rafted some of the most dangerous rivers in the world as an accomplished river guide. But living her dream as a guide and advocate led her back to the place she least expected to find herself—her family’s ranch in Terrebonne. Her memoir, River House, chronicles her return home. It won a 2011 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest.
Ursula K. Le Guinwww.ursulakleguin.com
Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-two novels, eleven volumes of short stories, three collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards: Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award (in 1986 for Always Coming Home and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001) and others. Her recent publications include a volume of poetry, Incredible Good Fortune; the novel Lavinia; an essay collection, Cheek by Jowl; and The Wild Girls, which packages a short story and an essay that was originally published in Harpers. Le Guin lives in Portland. Northwest Book Lovers was fortunate to publish her essay, Riding the Avalanche, about the publishing industry.
Craig Lesley is the author of four novels and a memoir, along with numerous other works. Winterkill (1985) and The Sky Fisherman (1996) were honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest, and in 1992, Lesley received a PNBA award for Talking Leaves: Contemporary Native American Short Stories, which he edited. The Sky Fisherman and Storm Riders, an Oregon Book Award winner, were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Currently the Senior Writer-in-Residence at Portland State University, Lesley lives with his wife and two daughters in Portland, Oregon.
Paul Owen Lewis
Author and artist Paul Owen Lewis is best known for his children’s books Davy’s Dream and Storm Boy, both of which feature a child’s interaction with wild killer whales, in dream, and in myth. Storm Boy was honored in 1996 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Lewis lives in the San Juan Islands “surrounded by water and the amazing creatures that live in it.”
Rosina Lippi was born and raised in Chicago, but she has lived for longer periods in the Austrian alps, on the East coast and in Michigan, where she was a professor at UM/Ann Arbor for ten years. An academic linguist, an editor and a researcher, Lippi is the author of novels The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square, Tied to the Tracks and Homestead, which in 1999 won a PNBA Award, a 1999 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. With linked stories, the novel chronicles six generations of women in an isolated Austrian village. Lippi has also published a series of six books under the name Sara Donati. As the last book in the series was published in January 2010, Donati is now on sabbatical.
Barry Lopez is an essayist, author and naturalist who has lived in Oregon since 1968. He has traveled extensively in remote and populated parts of the world. Lopez is the author of Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award; Of Wolves and Men, a National Book Award finalist; and eight works of fiction, including Light Action in the Caribbean, Field Notes: The Grace Note of the Canyon Wren and Resistance. Field Notes and Arctic Dreams were both honored with awards from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Lopez’s essays are collected in two books, Crossing Open Ground and About This Life. His most recent book is Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, a reader’s dictionary of regional landscape terms, which he edited with Debra Gwartney. He contributes regularly to Granta, The Georgia Review, Orion, Outside, The Paris Review, Manoa and many other publications. Lopez is a recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the John Hay Medal, Guggenheim, Lannan, and National Science Foundation fellowships, Pushcart Prizes in fiction and nonfiction, and other honors.
Jim Lynch began writing as a reporter in an Alaskan fishing village. As a journalist, he has received the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, among other national honors. His first novel, The Highest Tide, was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2006, and his second novel, Border Songs, won a 2010 Washington State Book Award. Lynch lives with his wife and their daughter in Olympia, Washington. He says, “I remain inspired by where I live, overlooking this bay at the southern bottom of Puget Sound …”
Richard Manning is an award-winning environmental author and journalist, with particular interest in the history and future of the American prairie, agriculture and poverty. He writes frequently about trauma and poverty for the National Native Children’s Trauma Center based at the University of Montana, where he is a senior research associate. He is the author of eight books, including One Round River: The Curse of Gold and the Fight for the Big Blackfoot, which was honored in 1999 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. His articles have been published in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Audubon and The Bloomsbury Review. He lives in Helena, Montana with his wife, Tracy Stone-Manning.
A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals. His debut novel, Matterhorn, was written over the course of thirty years and has been widely hailed as the definitive Vietnam novel. It won a 2011 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Marlantes lives in rural Washington.
Emily Winfield Martinwww.emilywinfieldmartin.com
Emily Winfield Martin is the author and illustrator of Day Dreamers, Oddfellow’s Orphanage, The Black Apple’s Paper Doll Primer: Activities and Amusements for the Curious Paper Artist and Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey, for which she was honored by PNBA booksellers in 2014 (“Like Goodnight, Moon or any number of childhood favorites, this is a book you’ll still love after the umpteenth reading,” they said.) Martin lives in Portland, where her work is inspired by “fairy tales, music, myths, carnivals, children’s books from late the 19th through mid 20th century, her favorite films, and autobiography.”
Nora Martin is an Adjunct Professor at Montana State University teaching courses in children’s and young adult literature. She earned a teaching degree at the University of Alaska and taught in several rural schools, including one in the Tlingit village of Klukwan. She is the author of The Stone Dancers, The Eagle’s Shadow, Flight of the Fisherbird, and A Perfect Snow, which was honored in 2003 with an award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Martin now lives in Gallatin Gateway, Montana, with her husband, Andrew, and their sons, Winslow and Haynes.
Brad Matsen is the author of Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King, Titanic’s Last Secrets, Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss, and many other books about the sea and its inhabitants. He was a creative producer for the television series The Shape of Life, and his articles on marine science and the environment have appeared in Mother Jones, Audubon, and Natural History, among other publications. His book, with co-authors Natalie Fobes and Tom Jay, Reaching Home: Pacific Salmon, Pacific People, was honored in 1995 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Matsen lives on Vashon Island.
Charleston, South Carolina native Kezi Matthews lived much of her adult life in Portland, Oregon. She was a cloth doll designer before she became a writer. Her young adult fiction includes Scorpio’s Child, Flying Lessons and John Riley’s Daughter, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2001. “Children’s writers should never ever underestimate the intelligence and emotional depth of children,” Matthews said in an interview with Writing For Children. Matthews passed away in 2010.
Olympia artist Nikki McClure is known for her painstakingly intricate and beautiful paper cuts. Armed with an X-acto knife, she cuts out her images from a single sheet of paper and creates a language that translates the complex poetry of motherhood, nature and activism into a simple and endearing picture. She regularly produces her own posters, books, cards, T-shirts and a beloved yearly calendar as well as designs covers for countless records and books. All In a Day, a children’s book she illustrated, won an award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2010.
Patrick F. McManus
Patrick F. McManus has written many hundreds of humor pieces, which have been collected in thirteen books and featured in “The Last Laugh” column for Outdoor Life Magazine. His Never Sniff a Gift Fish was honored with a PNBA Award in 1984. McManus has also written a children’s book, Kid Camping from Aaaiii! To Zip!, and three mystery novels, The Blight Way, Avalanche, and The Double-Jack Murders. McManus lives in Spokane and his wife, Darlene. They have four daughters, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Deirdre McNamer grew up in small towns not far from the Canadian border. After working as a daily journalist for more than a decade, she studied at the University of Michigan as a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. After getting her MFA in fiction from the University of Montana, her first novel, Rima in the Weeds, won a PNBA Award in 1992. Her next two novels, One Sweet Quarrel and My Russian, were New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year. Her fourth novel, Red Rover, which was named a Best Book of 2007 by Artforum, The Washington Post, and the LA Times. She’s been on the faculty of the University of Montana’s creative writing program since 1998.
Lydia Minatoya was born in Albany, New York in 1950. Her memoir, Talking to Monks in High Snow: An Asian-American Odyssey, about coming to terms with her Japanese heritage, won a PNBA Award in 1993. Minatoya has also published a novel, The Strangeness of Beauty, “a quietly daring exploration of art, family, culture, and conscience” about several generations of Japanese Americans who return to Japan just before World War II. Minatoya has a Ph.D. in psychology and works as a counselor at North Seattle Community College.
A textile business took Nicole Mones to China for the first time in 1977. As an individual she traded textiles with China for 18 years before she turned to writing. Her novels Night in Shanghai, The Last Chinese Chef, Lost in Translation (honored by PNBA in 1999) and A Cup of Light have received multiple prizes, including the Kafka Prize (year’s best work of fiction by any American woman) and Kiriyama Prize (finalist; for the work of fiction that best enhances understanding of a Pacific Rim Culture). Mones’ nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Gourmet, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. She is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
A frequent chronicler of Seattle, Fred Moody wrote the 1996 PNBA Award-winning I Sing the Body Electronic: A Year with Microsoft on the Multimedia Frontier. His other books include Seattle and the Demons of Ambition: From Boom to Bust in the Number One City of the Future; The Visionary Position: The Inside Story of the Digital Dreamers Who Are Making Virtual Reality a Reality, and Fighting Chance: An NFL Season With the Seattle Seahawks. The former managing editor of Seattle Weekly, his journalism has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Moody and his wife, Anne, have three daughters and live on an island in the Puget Sound.
Kathleen Dean Moorewww.riverwalking.com
Kathleen Dean Moore is best known as a nature writer whose essays “question and celebrate our cultural and spiritual connections to the Earth.” She won a PNBA Award for Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving Water in 1996 and an Oregon Book Award for The Pine Island Paradox: Making Connections in a Disconnected World in 2006. Moore is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and University Writer Laureate at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she lives with her husband, a biologist, and writes in the WaterShed, a tiny writers’ studio that her daughter designed. In the summers, she writes in her family’s cabin in Southeast Alaska.
Born and raised “a free-range child” in the Pacific Northwest, Clay Morgan has worked as a teacher, a commentator for National Public Radio, and as a U.S. Forest Service smokejumper. His books include The Boy Who Spoke Dog, The Boy Who Returned From the Sea and Santiago and the Drinking Party, honored in 1993 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Morgan lives with his wife, Barbara, an astronaut and teacher, and their two sons in McCall, Idaho. He is currently a creative writing professor at Boise State University.
Greg Mortenson was a humanitarian, a mountaineer and an author. Mortenson was the co-founder and director of the non-profit Central Asia Institute as well as founder of the educational charity, Pennies for Peace. He was the co-author, with David Oliver Relin, of Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2007. As of 2010, Mortenson had established or significantly supported 171 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The sequel to Three Cups of Tea, Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace Through Education in Afghanistan and Pakistan was released in 2009.
James E. Murphy
James E. Murphy was born in 1910 and was an attorney for most of his life. He retired from his law practice to write Half Interest in a Silver Dollar: The Saga of Charles E. Conrad, which won a PNBA Award in 1984. He lived in Kalispell, Montana until his death in 1990.
Christina Suzann Nelsonwww.christinasuzannnelson.com
Christina Suzann Nelson’s first novel, If We Make It Home, was released by Kregel Publications in 2017. Her second novel, Swimming in the Deep End, was published in 2019. Look for More Than We Remember releasing February 18, 2020. She was named the 2017 Writer of Promise by The Oregon Christian Writers.
Richard Nelson is a cultural anthropologist and creative nonfiction writer whose work focuses on human relationships to the natural world. Nelson has lived in Alaska since 1961, where he has recorded the cultural traditions and intellectual achievements of Inupiaq Eskimo and Athabaskan Indian people. Based on these experiences, he wrote Hunters of the Northern Ice, Hunters of the Northern Forest, Shadow of the Hunter, Make Prayers to the Raven and The Athabaskans. Nelson has also written more broadly about people and the environment, including The Island Within, honored in 1990 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest; Heart and Blood: Living with Deer in America; and Patriotism and the American Land, which he co-authored with Barry Lopez and Terry Tempest Williams. He lives in Sitka, where he follows his passion for the outdoors and volunteers for a community conservation group.
Jack Nisbet is a teacher and naturalist whose 2009 book The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest won a PNBA Award. Other titles include The Mapmaker’s Eye: David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau and Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson Across Western North America, which won the Idaho Library Book of the year and the Washington Governor’s Award in 1995. He lives in Spokane.
Born and raised in Minnesota, poet Sheryl Noethe now lives at the foot of Mt. Jumbo in Missoula, Montana. Her first collection of poetry was The Descent of Heaven Over the Lake and was followed by The Ghost Openings, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest with a William Stafford Memorial Award in 2001. The booksellers called her work “haunting, light and always full of life.” Noethe’s work has been included in numerous anthologies, including Poems Across the Big Sky, Montana Women Writers: A Geography of the Heart and I Go To the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poems in Defense of Global Human Rights. From 2011-2013, Noethe served as Montana’s Poet Laureate.
Gina Ochsner lives in Keizer, Oregon and divides her time between writing and teaching with the Seattle Pacific Low-Residency MFA program. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Glimmertrain and the Kenyon Review. She is the author of the short story collection The Necessary Grace to Fall, which was honored in 2003 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest, and the story collection People I Wanted to Be. Both books received the Oregon Book Award.
Jean Davies Okimotowww.jeandaviesokimoto.com
Jean Davies Okimoto is an author and playwright whose books and short stories have been translated into Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, German and Hebrew. She is the recipient of numerous awards including Smithsonian Notable Book, the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, the Washington Governor’s Award, and the International Reading Association Readers Choice Award. Her picture book, Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat was adapted by Shelly Duvall for the HBO and Showtime television series “Bedtime Stories.” She has appeared on CNN, Oprah and The Today Show. Jeanie began writing for adults when she and her husband Joe retired to Vashon Island in 2004.
Described as “the dean of true crime authors” by the Washington Post, Jack Olsen wrote thirty-three books, including The Misbegotten Son, The Bridge at Chappaquiddick, Night of the Grizzlies, Silence on Monte Sole and Son: A Psychopath and His Victims, which won a PNBA Award in 1984. A former Time bureau chief, Olsen wrote for Vanity Fair, People, Paris Match, Readers Digest, Playboy, Life, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and New York Times Book Review . He lived on an island in Puget Sound and died in 2002 at the age of 77.
Carol Orlock is author of The Goddess Letters, honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1988, and The Hedge, The Ribbon, which won the Western States Book Award. Her stories and poems have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Calyx, Women of Darkness and Fine Madness, among others, and she has written two nonfiction books. She teaches fiction writing and composition at Shoreline Community College and also teaches fiction writing for the University of Washington Extension Program.
Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. Her novels include My Year of Meats, All Over Creation, and A Tale for the Time Being, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won a 2014 PNBA Award. “The stories I like are the ones that emerge from the edges, the rich and fecund areas where things meet,” she writes in an essay on NW Book Lovers. “The Pacific Northwest, set on the edge of a continent, an ocean, and an ecosystem, is just such a place. Here, ideas and cultures meet and intermingle, and in that regard, I like to think of A Tale for the Time Being as being a particularly Pacific Northwest kind of book.”
Nicholas O’Connell, M.F.A, Ph.D., is the author of The Storms of Denali; On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature; Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers and At the Field’s End: Interviews with 22 Pacific Northwest Writers, which won a PNBA Award in 1988. O’Connell has contributed to Newsweek, Gourmet, Saveur, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Condé Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sierra, Commonweal and many other publications. He is the publisher/editor of The Writer’s Workshop Review and the founder of the online and Seattle-based writing program, www.thewritersworkshop.net.
Bestselling cult author Chuck Palahniuk’s first novel was Fight Club, which went on to become a popular movie. This success was followed by almost a book a year since 1999, including Survivor, Invisible Monsters, Diary, Rant and Lullaby, which was honored in 2003 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Choke, published in 2001, became Palahniuk’s first New York Times bestseller. He currently divides his time between two homes, one in Oregon and one in Washington, both of which he shares with his partner and their two dogs.
First as a librarian, then as an author, reviewer, lecturer and radio and television personality, Nancy Pearl has spent her adult life championing the best books. In 1998, she developed the program “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” which spread across the country. The former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book, Pearl celebrates the written word by speaking at bookstores and libraries across the country and on her monthly television program Book Lust with Nancy Pearl on the Seattle Channel. Pearl’s books include Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason (2003), Book Crush: For Kids and Teens (2007) and Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers (2010), all from Sasquatch Books. In recognition of her books and efforts in support of books, booksellers, libraries and librarians, the independent booksellers of the Pacific Northwest honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Joe.
Lucia Perillo published a collection of essays, a collection of stories and six books of poetry, including Luck is Luck, which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and Inseminating the Elephant, a Pulitzer finalist. Of On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths, which was one of the NYT’s 100 notable books of 2012 and won a 2013 PNBA Book Award, PNBA booksellers said: “Fearless, wise, humorous and touching, the poems in this volume are a bracing tonic.” Perillo celebrated the award with this essay for NW Book Lovers. We also recommend her interview with poet/bookseller Christine Deavel. Perillo lived in Olympia. She died in 2016.
Barbara Corrado Popewww.barbaracpope.com
Barbara Corrado Pope is the author of three historical novels set in late-19th-century France. Her first novel, Cezanne’s Quarry, was nominated for an Oregon Book Award; her second, The Blood of Lorraine received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Her third, The Missing Italian Girl, arrived in February 2013. Pope has a Ph.D. in the Social and Intellectual History of Europe from Columbia University and has taught history and women’s studies in places as diverse as Hungary, Tuscany, the University of New Mexico, and Harvard Divinity School. Her longest stint was at the University of Oregon, where she was the founding director of women’s studies. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pope now resides in Oregon. She is married and has one daughter.
Ismet Prcic was born in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1977 and immigrated to America in 1996. He holds an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and was the recipient of a 2010 NEA Award for fiction and a 2012 PNBA Award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest for his novel Shards (“Powerful, gorgeous writing—complicated without a hint of intellectual grandstanding. This novel is a difficult treasure.”—PNBA booksellers). Prcic is a 2011 Sundance Screenwriting Labfellow. He lives in Portland with his wife. Read his essay One More Rescue on NW Book Lovers.
Cherie Priest is the author of more than a dozen novels, including six in her Clockwork Century Universe series. The first in the series, Boneshaker, won a 2010 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest, was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, and was a Locus Award finalist. Her other books include Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Fathom, Wings to the Kingdom, and the Endeavour-nominated book Not Flesh Nor Feathers. Her short novels Dreadful Skin and Those Who Went Remain There Still are published by Subterranean Press. She lives in Seattle with her husband and a fat black cat. Read NW Book Lovers‘ interview with Priest, New from the Clockwork Century.
Dawn Prince-Hughes is the author of Songs of the Gorilla Nation, a memoir about growing up with Asperger’s Sydrome, which was honored with a 2005 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Prince-Hughes is also the author of Gorillas Among Us: A Primate Ethnographer’s Book of Days and three other books. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in interdisciplinary anthropology from the Universität Herisau in Switzerland and is an adjunct professor of anthropology at Western Washington University. She is on the advisory board of ApeNet, a nonprofit organization.
Robert Michael Pyle
Robert Michael Pyle is the author of hundreds of papers, essays, stories and poems in many magazines and journals. His fourteen books include the The Thunder Tree; Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide; Chasing Monarchs: Migrating with the Butterflies of Passage; the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies; Handbook for Butterfly Watchers; Butterflies of Cascadia; Walking the High Ridge: Life as Field Trip; Sky Time in Gray’s River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place; and Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land, which was honored by PNBA in 1987. Pyle founded the Xerces Society for invertebrate conservation and later chaired its Monarch Project. He lives in the rural community of Gray’s River, on a tributary of the Lower Columbia in southwest Washington.
David Quammen is an award-winning science, nature and travel writer and author whose twelve books include The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions and The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution. His recent book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, about the science, history, and human impacts of emerging diseases, was short-listed for seven national and international awards. He writes about Spillover in an essay for NW Book Lovers. Quammen has been honored with an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is a three-time recipient of the National Magazine Award. Quammen’s articles have appeared in National Geographic, Outside, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times Book Review. He wrote a column, called Natural Acts, for Outside magazine for fifteen years. His book by the same name was honored in 1986 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Quammen lives in Bozeman, Montana.
Jonathan Raban is a British-born travel writer and novelist who has has received numerous awards including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Heinemann Award for Literature, the Thomas Cook Award, the PEN West Creative Nonfiction Award and a 1997 PNBA Award for Bad Land: An American Romance. His books Bad Land, Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings and Waxwings form “a loose trilogy” about the Pacific Northwest. Raban is “curious, funniest when he’s miserable, and quick to put himself in uncomfortable situations, to be at a loss, to see what happens” says The Stranger in a 2006 profile. Raban has lived in Seattle since 1990.
Naseem Rakha is a geologist turned journalist turned novelist whose debut novel, The Crying Tree, won a PNBA Award in 2010. Her stories have been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace Radio and Living on Earth. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son and many animals.
Ted Rand was “a prolific and energetic artist who made his mark in portraiture, teaching and advertising art before entering the children’s book field at an age when most people are collecting Social Security,” says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Rand illustrated more than 78 children’s books with authors such as Bill Martin Jr., Eve Bunting, Jean Craighead George, and his wife, Gloria Rand. The Rands picture books include the Salty Dog series. Rand also co-founded the long-running Graphic Studios and taught illustration at the University of Washington in Seattle before he died in 2005 at the age of 89. “Seattle lost its dean of children’s book illustrators — one of the gentlemen of the industry,” a bookseller told the Seattle P-I after he died. Rand was honored by PNBA with a General Achievement Award in 1989.
David Oliver Relinwww.davidoliverrelin.com
David Oliver Relin was the co-author (with Greg Mortenson) of the #1 New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time, for which he won 2007 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Relin was a graduate of Vassar and was awarded the prestigious Teaching/Writing Fellowship at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. For two decades, Relin focused on reporting about social issues and their effect on children, both in the United States, and around the world. His interviews with child soldiers (including a profile of teenager Ishmael Beah, who would later write the bestseller A Long Way Gone) have been included in Amnesty International reports. His investigation into the way the INS abused children in its custody contributed to the reorganization of that agency. He died in 2012.
Steven Rinella is the host of the Travel Channel’s The Wild Within and the author of Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2009. He has written for Outside, New York Times, The New Yorker, Salon.com, O the Oprah Magazine, and the anthologies Best American Travel Writing and Best Food Writing. A native of Twin Lake, Michigan, he has an apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and a moldy fishing and hunting shack on an island in Alaska.
A lifetime journalist beginning as a UCLA magazine staff member, JoAnn Roe writes features for magazines and newspapers worldwide on topics that range from western cowboys to city profiles. Roe has published 16 books, most recently The San Juan Islands: Into the 21st Century from Caxton Press. She has been awarded the Governor’s Award, two Mayor’s awards, the Japan-America Society Award and a 1981 PNBA award for Frank Matsura, Frontier Photographer.
Joanna Rose is the author of the award-winning novel Little Miss Strange, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Pacific Northwest in 1998. Her short story If Your Hands Would be Like That was recently published in Artisan Journal, and her essay Paisley Afternoon is in the Oregon anthology Citadel of the Spirit. She is also known to readers of The Oregonian as a regular reviewer on the books page. She and her teaching partner Stevan Allred host the regular Pinewood Table prose critique group, and she teaches in schools in Oregon and Washington.
Roxanna Rose lives with her family and a menagerie of animals. Fascinated by myths and legends from cultures around the world, she uses them as a base for Young Adult paranormal and fantasy novels: Desires, Malevolence, and Sacrifices. Her Legacy Novel series is based on Celtic legends. Roxanna divides most of her time between her writing and her career as a veterinary technician and rehabilitating native wildlife.
Seattle author Matt Ruff’s first novel was bought by a New York publisher when he was still studying under novelist Alison Lurie at Cornell University. Fool on the Hill was followed by Sewer, Gas & Electric: The Public Works Trilogy and Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls, which won an award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2004. His received his second award from PNBA for Bad Monkeys in 2008 (Neal Stephenson called it “Fast. Wicked. Scarily clever and equally fun for those who like thrillers and those who don’t.”) Ruff talked with NW Book Lovers about his recent novel, The Mirage. He lives with his wife, Lisa, a rare-book dealer, in Seattle.
Cynthia Rylant is the author of more than a hundred books for children, including the 2010 PNBA Award-winning All In a Day. She won the Newbery Medal for Missing May and the Newbery Honor for A Fine White Dust. If you didn’t immediately recognize Rylant’s name, you will probably recognize some of her characters: Poppleton, Henry and Mudge, and Mr. Putter and Tabby, for instance. Rylant lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Though The Economist called Joe Sacco “the heir to R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman,” he writes in an essay for NW Book Lovers that he has “never quite accommodated myself gracefully to the mainstream acceptance of what I do.” His acclaimed books include Palestine; Safe Area Gorazde; Footnotes in Gaza; a best-selling collaboration with Chris Hedges, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt; and The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme, a 24-sheet foldout illustration which won a PNBA award in 2014. Reviewers have called the book “gorgeous and haunting” and “unique, devastating, indelible.”
When Archie Satterfield decided he wanted to write a book about canoeing on the Yukon River, he packed up his wife and four small children and headed north, says his obituary in The Seattle Times. Described as “totally fearless about taking us places” by his son, Satterfield was a journalist and author who worked for both The Seattle Times and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer before he retired to write full time. He wrote 40 books, many set in Alaska. They include books on the Chilkoot Pass, Klondike Park, the Yukon River and back roads in Washington. Seattle: An Asahel Curtis Portfolio was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1986. He died in 2011 at the age of 78.
Montana author Thomas Savage was born in 1915 in Salt Lake City. His literary career spans five decades and thirteen novels, most notably The Sheep Queen and The Power of the Dog, named “the year’s best novel” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The Corner of Rife and Pacific was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the fifteen best novels of 1988 and was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Savage was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980.
Migael Scherer is the author of four books and numerous essays that range from the literary to the practical. Her first book, Still Loved by the Sun: A Rape Survivor’s Journal, won a PNBA Award and received a 1993 PEN/Martha Albrand Special Citation for distinguished nonfiction. The PEN judges described it as “one of the first of its kind … With the skill of a novelist Scherer has written a poignant exploration of one woman’s evolving reactions to being victimized by random violence.” Scherer served for more than a decade as a lecturer and program consultant to the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at the University of Washington in Seattle, teaching journalists how to cover traumatic events. An experienced mariner, Scherer wrote the first comprehensive cruising guide to the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. Scherer and her husband lived aboard a sailboat for more than thirty-five years, cruising the Pacific Northwest, Southeast Alaska and the 1,500-mile Inside Passage.
Mary Dodds Schlick
Mary Dodds Schlick is author of Columbia River Basketry: Gift of the Ancestors, Gift of the Earth, which is based on a study of the distinctive baskets of the region and was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1995. Schlick, who serves as adjunct curator at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington, has been an important contributor to preserving the cultural heritage of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest and is one of the nation’s authorities on native arts of the interior Northwest. She lives in Mount Hood.
Carlos A. Schwantes
Carlos Schwantes is the St. Louis Mercantile Library Professor of Transportation and the West. He holds a doctorate in American History from the University of Michigan. In total he has authored or edited fifteen books about various facets of the American West and transportation, including The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History and Railroad Signatures Across the Pacific Northwest, honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1994. He is an avid landscape photographer and teaches at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Barbara Scot, a public school teacher for twenty-five years, began to write after a tour with the Peace Corps in Nepal in 1991. She has published five books: The Nude Beach Notebook; Child of Steens Mountain (with Eileen McVicker); Prairie Reunion (a New York Times Notable Book); The Stations of Still Creek; and The Violet Shyness of Their Eyes: Notes from Nepal, which won a PNBA Award in 1994. An avid fan of the outdoors, she has spent much of her life climbing mountains, backpacking, running, and bird watching. She and her husband live in a houseboat on the Willamette River.
Lynda Sexson is Professor of Humanities at Montana State University in Bozeman and the co-director of Corona Productions, a series of projects and events promoting interdisciplinary events and reflections. She is the author of Hamlet’s Planets, Ordinarily Sacred and Margaret of the Imperfections, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1989. Among her awards, honors and affiliations, Sexson received Humanities Montana grants for the planning and production of My Book and Heart Shall Never Part, a film she wrote and directed in 2008.
Floyd Skloot is a poet, novelist and essayist whose work has received three Pushcart Prizes, a PEN USA Literary Award, two Oregon Book Awards and two PNBA Awards. Born in Brooklyn, he has been an Oregonian since 1984. He and his wife, Beverly, lived in a cedar yurt in rural Amity before moving back to Portland, where they currently live. His wife’s paintings grace the covers of many of Skloot’s books, which include The End of Dreams, The Snow’s Music, Approximately Paradise, honored in 2006 by PNBA and Selected Poems: 1970-2005, which won the same award in 2009. Skloot has taught at the Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Summer Writers Conference at Goucher College and the Paris Writers Workshop, and he contributes book reviews to The New York Times Book Review, Boston Globe and Harvard Review, among others. He wrote Reading Mayhem: My Two-Year Sentence to Current Fiction for NW Book Lovers. Skloot’s daughter, Rebecca Skloot, is the bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Diane Smith is a writer specializing in science and the environment. Her first novel, Letters from Yellowstone, was honored with a 2000 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest and was the One Book Montana book of 2006. The novel uses letters to tell the story of the lone woman on a botanical research expedition to Yellowstone National Park in 1898. Smith has lived most of her adult life in Montana, and in her free time, she visits national parks, volunteers on archaeological and paleontological digs, explores back roads and tries to learn all she can about the natural history of the West. Smith is a PhD student in history at Montana State University.
Roland Smith was born and raised in Portland, where he worked at a zoo until becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of six picturebooks (from B is for Beaver to W is for Waves), several nonfiction books about animals and more than a dozen young adult novels, including The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2000. School Library Journal called the novel “[An] entertaining introduction to an episode of American history rarely celebrated in fiction.” Smith spends his days visiting schools, traveling, and writing about animals. Smith lives on a small farm south of Portland with his wife, Marie.
“Gary Snyder is a rarity in the United States: an immensely popular poet whose work is taken seriously by other poets,” says an interviewer in The Paris Review. “He is America’s primary poet-celebrant of the wilderness, poet-exponent of environmentalism and Zen Buddhism, and poet-citizen of the Pacific Rim …” Snyder has published eighteen books of poetry and prose, including The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry and Translations; No Nature: New and Selected Poems, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; The Practice of the Wild, honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1991; Axe Handles, for which he received an American Book Award; and Turtle Island, which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Among many honors, he has received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award and the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Times. He lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and has taught at the University of California, Davis since 1985.
Toby F. Sonnemanwww.tobysonneman.com
Toby Sonneman is the author of Lemon: A Global History; Shared Sorrows: A Gypsy Family Remembers the Holocaust; and Fruit Fields in My Blood: Okie Migrants in the West, honored in 1993 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. She has written personal essays and articles for a variety of publications, including Salon, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, Reform Judaism Magazine, Tikkun and Northwest Palate. Sonneman picked fruit for sixteen years and currently teaches journalism and writing at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington.
Frank Soos has published several books including the essay collection Bamboo Fly Rod Suite: Reflections on Fishing and the Geography of Grace and the short story collections Early Yet and Unified Field Theory, which was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1999. The recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the winner of a Flannery O’ Connor Award for Short Fiction, he taught English and creative writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks from 1986-2004. He lives in Fairbanks with the artist Margo Klass.
Tom Spanbauer is the critically acclaimed author and founder of Dangerous Writing, a writing workshop and community of writers that has formed around him and is dedicated to the proposition that “fiction is the lie that tells the truth truer.” His five published novels, Faraway Places, The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon, In The City Of Shy Hunters, Now Is The Hour, and I Loved You More, are notable for their “combination of a fresh and lyrical prose style with solid storytelling.” Spanbauer won a PNBA Award in 1992 for In the City of Shy Hunters. He lives, writes and teaches in Portland Oregon.
Portland author Martin Stadius was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2000 for Dreamers: On the Trail of the Nez Perce. Stadius follows the route of the Nez Perce National History Trail in his VW van, describing the trail today. He tells the story of the tragic retreat of the Nez Perce from Wallowa Lake, Oregon to Bear Paw, Montana from the perspective of the Nez Perce, their pursuers and those who found themselves in the path of the chase. Stadius is a native of the West with more than twenty years experience in the book business.
Kim Stafford is a writer and teacher living in Portland, Oregon. He is the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute, a zone for exploratory writing at Lewis & Clark College. His books include Having Everything Right: Essays of Place; The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft; A Thousand Friends of Rain: New & Selected Poems, and Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford, which was honored in 2003 with an award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. He wrote How a Book Can Set You Free for NW Book Lovers after the publication of his memoir 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do.
Poet and pacifist William Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1914. During the Second World War, Stafford was a conscientious objector and worked in the civilian public service camps—an experience he recorded in the prose memoir Down in My Heart: Peace Witness in War Time. In 1948 Stafford moved to Oregon to teach at Lewis and Clark College, where he worked until his retirement in 1980. His first major collection of poems, Traveling Through the Dark, won the National Book Award in 1963. He went on to publish more than sixty-five volumes of poetry and prose, including An Oregon Message, which was honored by PNBA in 1988. Stafford died of a heart attack in 1993, having written a poem that morning containing the lines, “‘You don’t have to / prove anything,’ my mother said. ‘Just be ready / for what God sends.'” In 2008, the Stafford family gave his papers, including the 20,000 pages of daily writing, to the Special Collections Department at Lewis & Clark College. Stafford’s son, Kim, wrote a memoir, Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford, for which he won a PNBA Award in 2003.
Clemens Starck is the author of several books of poetry, including China Basin and Traveling Incognito. His debut work, Journeyman’s Wages, won an Oregon Book Award and PNBA’s William Stafford Memorial Poetry Award in 1996. Born in Rochester, N.Y., in 1937, Starck has worked as a construction foreman, a carpenter, a merchant seaman, a door-to-door salesman, a ranch hand and a newspaper reporter. He lives on forty-some acres in the country outside of Dallas, Oregon.
Garth Stein is the author of three novels: Raven Stole the Moon, The Art of Racing in the Rain, honored with a 2009 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest, and How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, which received the same award in 2006 (The booksellers called it a “beautifully un-shiny novel of passion, forgiveness and the life force that is fatherhood.”) Stein has also written a full-length play, Brother Jones. Stein worked as a documentary film maker in New York for several years. He grew up in Seattle, where he currently lives with his family.
Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, the New York Times bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, and the novel Torch. In addition to winning a PNBA Award (2013) and an Oregon Book Award, Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, and a film adaptation is in the works. The praise for Wild was uniformly ecstatic. We like what Andi at the Literary Duck said in an early review: “It is the kind of book that makes you want to call the author up on the phone and say: ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so brave and so honest in this book.” Read NW Book Lovers‘ interview with Strayed here. She lives in Portland with her husband and two children.
Anthony Swofford served in a U.S. Marine Corps Surveillance and Target Acquisition/Scout-Sniper platoon during the Gulf War.His memoir Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2006. After the war, he was educated at American River College; the University of California, Davis; and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has taught at the University of Iowa and Lewis and Clark College. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, Men’s Journal, The Iowa Review and other publications. A Michener-Copernicus Fellowship recipient, he lives in New York.
Craig Thompson’s first graphic novel, Goodbye, Chunky Rice, debuted when he was twenty-three. His sophomore novel, Blankets, won several industry awards and has been published in almost twenty languages. Habibi won a 2012 PNBA Award (“The appeal of this book will reach far beyond comics fans. Habibi should take its place alongside groundbreaking classics, such as Maus and Persepolis.”—PNBA booksellers.) Thompson lives in Portland. He wrote and illustrated a graphic essay, Where the Story Lives, for NW Book Lovers.
Terry Toedtemeier was a gifted photographer, historian, curator, and scientist who died in 2008 after giving a talk about his last curatorial project, what’s been called his defining, crowning achievement, Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge, 1867-1957. Six years in the making, the project was first a book and then a show at the Portland Art Museum, where Toedtemeier had been photography curator since 1985. “The colossal undertaking was a serious work of cultural history that explained the evolution of the Columbia Gorge area,” said his obituary in The Oregonian. “But it was also, by extension, a partial history of photography that reminded the public of the importance of some of Western photography’s early and underappreciated practitioners.” The project’s many threads mirrored Toedtemeier’s interests and dimensions. “He was trying to find that special place of beauty,” said his wife, Prudence Fenwick Roberts.
Kathleen Tyau was raised in Hawaii and began writing at the age of 13 with the publication of an essay in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. She plays bluegrass guitar and mandolin and is the author of the novels Makai and A Little Too Much Is Enough, which was honored in 1996 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Tyau has taught creative writing at Pacific University and Fishtrap and currently lives on 52 acre evergreen forest near Gaston, Oregon.
Brady Udall is the author of Letting Loose the Hounds, The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint and the The Lonely Polygamist, which won a 2011 PNBA Award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Playboy, GQ and Esquire, and his stories and essays have been featured on National Public Radio’s This American Life. He teaches in the MFA program at Boise State University and lives in Boise, Idaho and Teasdale, Utah with his wife and children.
Douglas Unger is the author of four novels, including Pulitzer finalist Leaving the Land, which was honored by PNBA in 1985, and Voices from Silence, a year’s end selection by The Washington Post Book World. His most recent book is a collection of short stories, Looking for War and Other Stories. He is a co-founder of the MFA in Creative Writing International program and the Schaeffer Fellowship Ph.D. with Creative Dissertation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition to teaching and writing, Unger is the Interim Chair of the Department of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and travels extensively in support of literary activism around the world.
“David Wagoner is recognized as the leading poet of the Pacific Northwest, often compared to his early mentor Theordor Roethke, and highly praised for his skillful, insightful and serious body of work,” says The Poetry Foundation. Wagoner has won many literary awards including the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, two Pushcart Prizes and the Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and has twice been nominated for the National Book Award. Wagoner is the author of ten novels, including The Escape Artist, which was adapted into a movie by Francis Ford Coppola, though he is best known for his poetry and his teaching. Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 2000. Wagoner lives in Bothell and teaches in the low-residency MFA program of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island
Velma Wallis is an Athabaskan Indian who grew up in a remote Alaskan village. Wallis dropped out of school at 13 in order to care for her siblings after their father’s death. Years later, she moved into an old trapping cabin and survived for almost twelve years on what she gathered from hunting, fishing and trapping. Her first book, Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival, won a PNBA Award (1994) and a Western States Book Award. Highly praised by readers and critics from around the world, the novel has sold more than 250,000 copies and has been optioned by Fox Searchlight Pictures for a major feature film. Wallis has written two additional books, Bird Girl and the Man Who Followed the Sun and Raising Ourselves: -A Gwich’in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River. She divides her time between Fort Yukon and Fairbanks.
Jess Walter’s essays, short fiction, criticism and journalism have been published in Details, Playboy, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe, among others. His award-winning books include The Financial Lives of The Poets, Citizen Vince, Over Tumbled Graves and The Zero, which was a National Book Award finalist and a PNBA Award winner in 2007. Walter won a PNBA Award again in 2014 for his story collection We Live in Water (he celebrates the award with this essay for NW Book Lovers.) Walter talked with NW Book Lovers after the publication of his seventh book, Beautiful Ruins, which was named a best book of the year by more than a dozen publications including GQ, Esquire and The New York Times. He lives with his wife and children in his hometown, Spokane, Washington.
Born in Browning, Montana to a father who was a member of the Blackfeet tribe and a mother who was a member of the Gros Ventre tribe, James Welch attended schools on the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap reservations. Although Welch began his career as a poet, he became famous for fiction and is considered a founding author of the Native American Renaissance literary movement. His first novel was Winter in the Blood, of which a reviewer in The New York Times Book Review said, ”Few books in any year speak so unanswerably, make their own local terms so throughly ours.” Fool’s Crow, The Indian Lawyer and The Heartsong of Charging Elk were all honored with awards from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. Welch was a visiting professor at the University of Washington and at Cornell University and served on the Montana State Board of Pardons. He toured in Europe, where his books were popular (He was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in France.). After Welch passed away in 2003, his friend Ivan Doig told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that he wrote about what it means to be an Indian in modern American society and about the people of the West “without glorification, without cliche in an honest, clear voice from an intimate perspective.”
Ellen Harkins Wheat is the author of Jacob Lawrence, American Painter, for which she received the Washington State Governor’s Writers’ Award and was honored by the independent booksellers of the Northwest in 1987. She has also written Jacob Lawrence’s “Frederick Douglass” and “Harriet Tubman” series (1939–40), and numerous articles about Jacob Lawrence’s work. She has a Ph.D. in art history, and has taught art history and writing at the University of Washington and Western Washington University. She lives in Indianola, Washington, and Pleasanton, California, and is a freelance editor.
In 1963, Jim Whittaker was the first American to summit Mount Everest. Whittaker grew up in Seattle, where he got his start climbing Mount Rainier. He was the first full-time employee at REI, retiring as its CEO and president after 25 years with the company. He and his wife, Dianne Roberts, along with their two sons, made a four-year, 20,000-mile sailing journey to Australia and back to their home in Port Townsend, aboard their 54-foot steel ketch, Impossible. Whittaker’s memoir, A Life On the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond, was honored in 2000 by the independent booksellers of the Northwest.
Richard Wiley is the author of numerous stories and the novels Soldiers In Hiding (winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Best American Fiction), Fools’ Gold, Festival for Three Thousand Maidens, Indigo, Ahmed’s Revenge (winner of the Maria Thomas Fiction Award), Commodore Perry’s Minstrel Show, The Book of Important Moments, Bob Stevenson, and Tacoma Stories.
Wiley is professor emeritus of English and a board member of Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He divides his time between his hometown of Tacoma, WA and Los Angeles, CA.
G. Willow Wilsongwillowwilson.com
G. Willow Wilson began her writing career at 17, when she freelanced as a DJ critic for Boston’s Weekly Dig magazine. Since then, she’s written the Eisner Award-nominated comic book series Air and Mystic: The Tenth Apprentice, the graphic novel Cairo and the memoir The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam, a Seattle Times best book of 2010. Her first novel, Alif the Unseen, was a New York Times notable book (“an exuberant fable that has thrills, chills and—even more remarkably—universal appeal.”—Janet Maslin) and a PNBA Award winner. Read Wilson’s essay for NW Book Lovers, Khomeini on the Rain Coast.
Virginia Euwer Wolffwww.virginiaeuwerwolff.com
Virginia Euwer Wolff was born in Portland, Oregon. Her family lived on an apple and pear orchard near Mount Hood. Wolff was almost fifty years old when she started writing children books. Her books include Bat 6, Make Lemonade, The Mozart Season, Probably Still Nick Swansen and True Believer, which was honored by a 2002 award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. In an interview with Children’s Literature Network she says, “I think we kids’ authors still start out with hope every morning. We honor our audience.” She lives in a cottage in Oregon, where she has a studio in the middle of the woods. An accomplished violinist, she is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Oregon.
An enrolled member of the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon, Elizabeth Woody is a critically praised poet, educator and lecturer. Woody’s collections of poetry include Hand into Stone and Luminaries of the Humble, honored with the William Stafford Memorial Prize for Poetry from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association in 1995. A practicing artist, Woody illustrated Sherman Alexie’s poetry collection Old Shirts and New Skins. She works as a program coordinator for the National Science Foundation’s Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction and is a founding member of the Northwest Native American Writers Association.
Robert Wrigley was honored by PNBA in 2014 for his ninth collection of poetry, Anatomy of Melancholy and Other Poems. The first male in his family for generations who escaped coal mine work, Wrigley explores rural Western landscapes and the human place in nature in his poems. He says he aims to “tell all the truth, but make it sing.” In an essay on NW Book Lovers, he writes that “part of me believes that talking about a book of poems is like talking about a piano: far better to sit down and play it, to hear it played.” Wrigley has won five Pushcart prizes and has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. He lives in Idaho with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes.
A lifelong swimmer and former Olympic hopeful, Lidia Yuknavitch uses the metaphor of water to tell the story of a childhood of abuse, her early adulthood and the loss of her first child in her debut, The Chronology of Water. The memoir was honored by PNBA in 2012 (“If you love memoir or poetry or Ken Kesey or have ever spent time on the planet Sorrow, you’ll want to read The Chronology of Water.”—NW Book Lovers). Yuknavitch is the author of Dora: a Headcase; Her Other Mouths; Liberty’s Excess; Real to Reel, a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; and Allegories of Violence: Tracing the Writings of War in Late Twentieth Century Fiction. She teaches writing, literature, film and women’s studies in Oregon.
Teri Zipf’s first book, Outside the School of Theology, won the 1998 William Stafford Memorial Poetry Award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest. “We found this poetry to be magical, pragmatic and sublime; sensuous, visceral, knowing and joyous,” the Awards Committee wrote. Zipf’s short stories, poetry and essays have been published in Salon, Left Bank, Northern Lights, Kinesis, Rain City Review, Calapooya Collage, and many others. Zipf has received a number of fellowships and grants. She lives in Walla Walla.