Seth Kantner was born in a sod igloo on the Alaskan tundra and raised in northwest Alaska, a area populated almost exclusively with Inupiaq Eskimos. He received a bachelors degree in journalism from University of Montana . Kantner is the author of two novels, and writings and photographs have appeared in Outside, Prairie Schooner, Alaska, Readers Digest, among other anthologies and publications. He lives with his wife and daughter in northwest Alaska.
This biography was last updated on 12/05/2010.
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An Interview with Seth Kantner
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 Jackit 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 lotthings I could at least relate somewhat to.
How authentic do you think the popular image of Alaska as the wild, rugged, uncharted West is?
Depends on your perspectivein 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 relentlesslyfrom my perspectivecarrying everything that Americans have too.
Was it hard to imagine ...
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