By Melinda Munson
At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Skagway’s population temporarily increased by an estimated 46 individuals. They, along with approximately nine Skagwegians, tuned into Jeff Brady’s livestream book event, held at his store, Skaguay News Depot & Books. The Zoom conference featured Whitehorse author Eva Holland, Haines writer Heather Lende and Lende’s editor, Amy Gash from Algonquin Books.
“I hope you’re all well and coping the best you can. Books can certainly help with that,” said Brady as he started the session.
The event began with Holland reading from her first book, “Nerve.” Holland, who had a debilitating fear of heights and driving in winter weather after several car accidents, said she decided to “alter my relationship with fear.” She began her three-year journey with a tandem skydiving jump and finished with a trip to a clinical psychologist in Amsterdam for an experimental treatment.
Heather Lende’s fourth book, “Of Bears and Ballots,” recounts her experience running for the Haines Assembly, serving as an assemblywomen and fighting to keep her seat in a bitter recall. She described her book as “my love for the community and how I almost lost that.”
Gash reached out to Lende from the East Coast after hearing her speak about Alaska life on NPR and asked if she wanted to write a book.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for you,” Lende replied. The two have worked together for over 15 years.
The virtual event was a taste of what’s to come next week as Skagway kicks off it’s North Words Writers Symposium, Aug. 2-4. Holland and Lende are part of the faculty for this year’s symposium, held virtually due to COVID-19. Bill Streever, biologist and science writer, is the keynote speaker in a year that focuses on “writing at a time of a threatened natural world.”
There is currently space for more participants. Visit https://nwwriterss.com.