Born and raised in the wilderness of northern Alaska, Seth Kantner is the author of numerous books, including Ordinary Wolves and Shopping for Porcupine: A Life in Arctic Alaska. His writing and photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Outside, Orion, and Reader’s Digest, and he is recipient of the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and a Whiting Award. Kantner has worked as a trapper, fisherman, gardener, mechanic, wildlife photographer, and adjunct professor. He lives with his wife and daughter in northwest Alaska, and is a columnist for the Alaska Dispatch News.
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Books by Seth Kantner
Author Q & A
How authentic do you think the popular image of Alaska as the wild, rugged, uncharted West is?
Depends on your perspective––in the Brooks Range in a storm in midwinter, you could say it's pretty rugged. But a lot of folks come in the summer and fall; they have GPSs and often now satellite phones. For $3.95 they can buy detailed USGS maps of every bend in every slough. Alaska, that I knew as a kid, is gone; the land is still here but planes fly over it relentlessly—from my perspective—carrying everything that Americans have too. [Read more at bookbrowse.com]
Whenever we think of "Great Alaskan Novels," we invariably think of Jack London. Did his writings influence you in Ordinary Wolves?
Very much so. Part of the reason I became a writer was Jack. He said when you spat or pissed it crackled and froze before it hit the ground. It never did that when I was a kid, reading Jack––it got to 78 below one time and it never did that! But the whole world believed it did because of London. Later, much later, I realized his descriptions of the cold and north were very good. Plus he wrote and lived and drank a lot––things I could at least relate somewhat to. [Read more on bookbrowse.com]