Nancy Lord is Alaska's State Writer Laureate. She accepted the position in 2008 and will complete her two-year term in October 2010. She succeeds John Straley (2006 -2008), Jerah Chadwick (2004 - 2006), and Anne Hanley (2002 - 2004). Nine others have held the job: Richard Nelson (2000), Tom Sexton (1995), Joanne Townsend (1988), Richard Dauenhauer (1981), Shiela Nickerson (1977), Ruben Gaines (1973), John Haines (1969), Oliver Everette (1965 - 1967), and Margaret Mielke (1963 - 1965).
The creation of the position of Poet Laureate, which is an honorary appointment, was approved by the state legislature in 1963 (House Resolution 25). Its name was changed officially in 1996 to recognize and honor all genres of writing.
The incumbent is selected by the Alaska State Council on the Arts. The honoree must demonstrate literary excellence (mastery in style, form, and genre), as well as exemplary professionalism and talent as shown in published work, and be committed to advancing the literary arts in Alaskan communities.
Among other duties, the State Writer Laureate represents Alaska and the state arts council while conducting workshops and giving readings in communities, schools, and libraries. Lord's schedule includes appearances at the Alaska Book Festival in Fairbanks this October and on other writers' panels.
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Nancy Lord has published essays, commentaries, short stories, fiction, creative nonfiction, and a play. Her work includes The Man Who Swam with Beavers (Coffee House Press, 2001), Survival (Coffee House Press, 1991; out of print), and The Compass Inside Ourselves (Fireweed Press, 1984; out of print); Beluga Days: Tracking a White Whale's Truths (Counterpoint Press, 2004), Green Alaska: Dreams from the Far Coast (Counterpoint Press, 1999), and Fishcamp: Life on an Alaskan Shore (Island Press, 1997); and a memoir/essay collection titled Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life (University of Nebraska Press, 2009). She plans to publish in January 2011 Early Warming: Crisis and Response in the Climate-Changed North (Counterpoint Press).
Lord has taught fiction, nonfiction, and memoir writing at Kenai Peninsula College/University of Alaska, has served as a visiting writer in Alaska schools and in colleges and universities across the United States, and participates in the Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference. In addition, she has completed writing residencies (Bread Loaf, MacDowell Colony, Hawthornden International Retreat, Ucross Foundation) nationally and abroad. She was for many years a commentator for NPR's Living on Earth program.
Stories and essays by Lord have appeared in Ploughshares, Alaska Quarterly Review, North American Review, and many other literary journals and magazines, and her work has been published in numerous anthologies.
Lord is the recipient of a 2003 Pushcart Prize.
Lord's University of Alaska/Anchorage Bio
49 Writers' Blog (For Lord's posts, go here.)
Brief Summaries of Lord's Books
"Two Worlds, One Whale" and "Native Tongues", Essays in Sierra Magazine
Andromeda Romano Lax's Interview with Lord (December 2008)
Excerpt from Beluga Days
Alaska Humanities Forum and Humanities Alaska (Blog)
Alaska State Council on the Arts
Alaska Writers Guild