This Alaska Book Week Tour is the result of the hard work and effort of many librarians, for which I have new appreciation. Not only do they keep the public happy feeding them great books, they are also brilliant at assisting people like me in researching material for writing books. In Bethel, Theresa Quiner, the Director of the Kuskokwim Consortium Library, is also an excellent grant writer. She received the bulk of the grant money, including one from the Alaska Humanities Forum, that helped fund my tour. Other librarians were awarded funding from various sources including local community organizations and Friends of the Library committees.

Bethel

Day 1: Thursday – Friday 9/26 – 27

Left Bellingham Thursday morning for Anchorage where I waited impatiently four hours for my connecting flight to Bethel. Finally went to the boarding area and the woman next to me turned and said, “I’m going to be your host.” It was Vicki Malone, the owner of the nicest B&B in Bethel, the Old Mission House. Next to her was a Yupik elder that looked very familiar. Vicki whispered to her, “Mary, you are sitting next to a famous author — its Annie Boochever!” Mary Nunawak is the same Alaska Native elder that was pictured here a couple of weeks ago reading from Fighter in Velvet Gloves at the Kuskokwim Consortium Library in Bethel. So fun to meet Mary and Vicki!

Mary Nunawak and Annie Boochever

Mary Nunawak, Annie Boochever, and one of Theresa’s rescues dogs, a chihuahua mix and so, so sweet. Don’t worry, ZZ, I still love you!

While in Bethel I spoke at the Bethel Youth Facility as well as the Kuskokwim Consortium Library. Besides meeting lots of very attentive kids, I got to see Apayo Moore’s bright, lively, and warm murals that decorate the walls at the Youth Facility. Apayo Moore’s poster “You Can Do It” from 2014, was the inspiration for the cover of Fighter in Velvet Gloves. She is a Yupik Eskimo from Alegnagik in Bristol Bay. Click here to view some of Apayo’s mural art projects.

Young aspiring writers and story lovers from Bethel!

Young aspiring writers and story lovers from Bethel!

Day 3 Saturday 9/28

Got to meet my husband Scott Miller at the Anchorage Airport where he arrived to do some McDowell work and help me with some of my presentations.

Day 4: Sunday 9/29

Flew to Utqiagvik. I will tell you about that leg of my tour in my next blog…