Postcard from Ketchikan, Alaska

 

Ketchikan

Greetings from lovely Ketchikan! The sun is out, the water is shining, the eagles are calling, and the wild strawberries and salmonberries are in bloom. Here you can see where I stayed in one of NY Hotel & Cafe’s creekside cabins. I’ve had a lovely time with Maggie, Charlotte and all the welcoming people at Parnassus Books and the Ketchikan Public Library these past two days. Thank you all for the hospitality and sharing your beautiful scenery.

Next up — the state capital of Juneau.

Cheer!

Eowyn

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Seeing more of Alaska

alaska map

My family and I live northeast of Anchorage, and I’m headed south to Juneau and Ketchikan — it’s nearly 1,000 miles by road, if you could drive, but Southeast Alaska is accessible only by boat or plane. (Map via www.worldatlas.com.)

Dear Alaska-bound reader,

One of the most amazing things about Alaska is its sheer size. I grew up here, and I have traveled around it quite a bit — from Anchorage to the North Slope, Chicken to Chickaloon, Cordova to Fairbanks, yet there are huge areas I have never seen. Southeast Alaska is one of those regions. For many visitors on cruise ships, this is the gateway to Alaska. But for those of us who live in Southcentral, it can seem very far away.

I’m thrilled to finally have a chance to see this part of the state. Tomorrow I fly to Ketchikan for an event  at 6:30 pm at the Ketchikan Public Library in conjunction with Parnassus Books. (More information is available by calling 907-228-2307.)

Then I go on to our state capital Juneau where Thursday 7-8:30 pm I’ll be at the Juneau Public Library, Friday 1-2 pm I’ll sign books at Hearthside Books in downtown and then that evening I’ll participate in Hearthside’s Authors at Sea Cruise, which sounds like wonderful fun. For more information and tickets, you can visit Hearthside here.

This has been one of the unexpected blessings of the publication of The Snow Child — it has given me the chance to meet booksellers, librarians and readers and to see new parts of the world, even those unexplored lands close to home.

Cheers!

Eowyn

 

Postcard from Bend, Oregon

Bend Oregon

Dear Oregon reader,

You know how you sometimes beat your own postcards home? Well, that is what has happened to me. I’m already back in Alaska, but today is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write a postcard to you.

First let me say that the rumors are true — Deschutes County truly has the most fantastic one community, one read program. For the past 10 years, “A Novel Idea” has featured a book each year that thousands of people read together and then celebrate with programs over the course of several weeks. Past selections include The Kite Runner, The Help, and Rules of Civility. This year they chose The Snow Child, and it was an incredible privilege.

novel ideaThis is the only place in the world I’ve been where the community makes a debut novelist feel like a rock star. For the first (and probably only) time in my life I got to see my name on a marquee. I spoke in front of a sold-out house at the Tower Theatre — 500 people. For a book event! Then another several hundred people came to a nearby high school for another event the next day. And the library gets this kind of turnout every year.

This is a community that knows how to celebrate books. They sew quilts inspired by the book, they paint paintings, sketch pictures, write lovely bluegrass music — all based on the book of the year. It was a moving experience as a writer to see how others had retold the story through fabric, colored pencils, and vocal harmonies.

And most of all I enjoyed getting to know the library staff. In ways, being a writer is a lonely endeavor. There are times that I miss the office banter, the collegial joking that goes on between co-workers. The Deschutes Public Library has the kind of staff anyone would envy, and you can tell they have a lot of fun together even as they work hard. But what was most remarkable was the way they included me, even welcomed me, into their friendship and laughter. For that I will forever be grateful.

So to the quilters, artists, musicians, book clubs, readers and librarians of Deschutes County — Cheers! And thank you!

Eowyn

P.S. For those of you who know my troubles with homophones, I thought I’d confess that this postcard initially read “my name on a marquis” instead of “marquee.” I guess my name tattooed on a nobleman would be interesting, but I prefer the marquee.

 

Snow Child events north and south

Dear fun-seeking reader,

I want to let you know about some events I have coming up.

This Friday I’ll be in Anchorage at Cyrano’s Theatre Company with Leigh Newman. She recently published her memoir Still Points North about growing up in Alaska, seeing the world, and then coming home again.

The event is 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, April 26. Expect a reading from each of us as well as “snacks, fizzy beverages and merriment!” It should be lots of fun.

Then next week I head south to Bend, Oregon for Deschutes Public Library’s  “A Novel Idea…Read Together.” It has been an delightful honor to have The Snow Child chosen for their annual program.

Everyone in the publishing world keeps telling me this is one of the best community reads programs in the country. It kicked off  with three weeks of free cultural programs, book discussions, films, food tastings, lectures and art openings.

The program culminates with two presentations in Bend. On Friday May 3, I’ll be reading at the Tower Theatre, but I understand these tickets are sold out. However, I’ll also be at a non-ticketed event on May 4th at 11:00 a.m. at Ridgeview High School in Redmond.

So whether you’re in Anchorage, Alaska, or Bend, Oregon, I hope you’ll stop by and say hello.

Cheers!

Eowyn

A heart full of gratitude

indiebound150x150Dear reader, bookseller, friend,

I never imagined, when I received the shocking news this week that The Snow Child was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, that anything else related to my writing career would ever be so powerful and moving.

And then I learned yesterday that independent booksellers across America had selected The Snow Child for their 2013 Indies Choice Award for debut fiction.

It is difficult to express my gratitude and wonder.

Certainly it is thrilling to have the book be considered for the Pulitzer — this is an award with a long, rich, admirable history, and that history includes many of the very novels that made me want to be a writer.

That said, the knowledge that American booksellers, the people who are the life-force of the book world, who read voraciously, talk endlessly about books, and offer their expertise up to the world, often for very little pay or benefit  — that these booksellers would choose to champion my novel is the highest honor I can imagine.

I am no longer working at Fireside Books — my schedule with both The Snow Child and my novel in progress have become all-consuming. But after nearly 10 years there, I still think of it as a second home. I still think of booksellers as my colleagues, my comrades, my friends. And to you I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Cheers!

Eowyn

 

Waiting for Spring

Spring sunshine, but still plenty of snow and ice as March comes to a close.

Dear patient reader,

The first day of spring came and went and left behind … well, winter. First we had a cold snap, with the thermometer at our house dropping to 15 below zero F. Then the clouds rolled in and we got nearly a foot of new snow. As much as I love winter, I confess that I’m ready to bid it farewell.

But I’m still finding the sunny side. The days are growing longer and longer each day. We have a new floppy-eared, happy puppy bouncing around the house. And in our kitchen is a vase of tulips.

???????????????????????????????Ironically, just as I’m craving spring the most, I’m heading farther north. But I hear there might be some sunshine in Fairbanks this weekend, and I’m very much looking forward to several events. While I’m there, I’ll be doing a school visit. Then, on Friday afternoon, I’m at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a craft talk. Also on Friday, at 7 p.m,  I’ll be at the Wood Center Ballroom for a reading and book signing as a part of the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series.

On Saturday, I’m signing books at Gulliver’s Books from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the meantime, I’m spending my days working on the next novel, cuddling with a puppy, and pretending it’s spring.

Cheers!

Eowyn

A few of my favorites

Dear bookish reader,

Barnes & Noble recently asked me to recommend a few books on their blog, which I was thrilled to do. Here’s my response.

“It’s dangerous to ask a bookseller and avid reader to recommend books – and it depends a lot on what I’ve read most recently and who I am recommending it to. But here are a few of my current favorites:”

I go on to list three books: a collection of poetry, a novel, and a strange and wonderful blend of genres. The poetry book is a tattered and well-loved copy, the novel is an e-book, and the third is a beautiful new hardbound edition.

Read more here.

And how about you? Reading anything good at the moment? What is your favorite to recommend?

Cheers!

Eowyn

News from here and there

Dear faithful reader,

Anyone in New York City this week? I’ll be doing an event 7 p.m. Wednesday March 6 at the Barnes & Noble at 86th and Lexington. It is in conjunction with the Discover Great New Writers program.

In other news, I’m excited to announce that my US and UK publishers have offered me a contract for my next novel.

Here’s an article from The Bookseller magazine:

Headline imprint Tinder Press has acquired a further novel by the author of The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey.

Publisher Mary-Anne Harrington acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Ivey’s second novel, Shadows on the Wolverine, through a world rights deal brokered by Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary Management and Little, Brown US. The publication date is still to be confirmed.

Shadows on the Wolverine tells the story of an adventurer who travels deep into unexplored Alaskan territory to discover that native legends are real and have come to life. The story unfolds through diaries, newspaper clippings, letters and apocrypha. It is inspired by an actual 1885 military expedition.

– See more at: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/tinder-buys-second-snow-child-author.html#sthash.iM8hutQM.dpuf

I’m so honored to be working again with Reagan Arthur here in the US and Mary-Anne Harrington in the UK. The novel is not finished yet, so if you don’t find me online quite as much, you’ll know why — I’m busy writing 🙂
Cheers!
Eowyn

Three cheers for libraries

???????????Dear library reader,

Yesterday at the grocery store I ran into my first librarian. When I was a little girl, Jeanne ran the Palmer Public Library, which at that time was a cramped room in city hall. There was a jar on the counter where you could put a quarter if you felt guilty about turning in a book late. And in a cozy back corner, I would flip through picture books.

Jeanne was always friendly and helpful, and when my mom and I walked through the door, she seemed genuinely glad to see us. She planted the warm spot in my heart for libraries.

During this past year of book events, I’ve come to realize that libraries are close to many people’s hearts, and for good reason. It’s the only place that I know of in our society where anyone is welcome, everything is free, and books are the focus.

This past month I participated in the Anchorage Reads library program. Anchorage Public Libaries chose The Snow Child for this year’s book, and they organized a snowman building contest, readings, a panel and other events.  I’ve also phoned in to other library book clubs around the country as they’ve met to discuss The Snow Child. Again and again I’m struck by what a wonderful blessing these libraries and their events are to communities. They welcome people of all ages, interests and walks of life and bring them together in the joy of reading.

I’m looking forward to some more library events. On Thursday evening at 7 p.m. I’ll be close to home at Wasilla Public Library where I’ll do a reading and answer questions from readers. Then at the beginning of May, I’ll be in Bend, Oregon for “A Novel Idea”, organized by Deschutes Public Library.

I want to offer my gratitude, and three cheers, for libraries around the world that give the love of reading to children, a sanctuary of ideas and literacy to whoever seeks it, and inspiration to writers.

Cheers!

Eowyn

Snowman fun

Dear snowy reader,

Dozens of families gathered on the lawn of the Loussac Libary in Anchorage on Saturday for a snowman building contest. The event was in conjunction with this year’s Anchorage Reads, The Snow Child.

Here are some photos from Saturday’s fun, which included hot chocolate, craft projects, beautiful ice sculptures, and lots and lots of lovely snow people.

With the talented Anchorage ice sculptors Carol and Tom Lewando.

 

One of my favorite snowmen from the event.

 

The Snow Child ice sculpture by the Lewando team.

Anchorage Reads events continue tonight — I’ll be at the University of Alaska Anchorage Bookstore from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a reading, signing and interview with David Stevenson, creative writing director at UAA. Hope to see some of you there.

Cheers!

Eowyn

 

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