Seth Kantner is a commercial fisherman, writer and wildlife photographer. He was born and raised in northern Alaska and his art reflects his love for this land and the animals who live on it, and his belief in the importance of wildness left wild.
Kantner was schooled at home and attended the University of Alaska and later the University of Montana where he received a BA, with honors, in Journalism.
He's worked as a fisherman, trapper, gardener, mechanic, igloo builder and adjunct professor. His writings and photographs have appeared in Outside, Alaska Geographic, the New York Times, Prairie Schooner, and in other magazines, literary journals and anthologies. He's a former columnist for the Anchorage Daily News and presently writes a bi-monthly dispatch on climate change in the Arctic for Orion magazine.
His 2004 book Ordinary Wolves was published by Milkweed Editions and won a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. Kantner is a Recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award in 2005 for fiction.
He lives in northwest Alaska with his wife, Stacey, and his daughter, China.
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.
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