July 27 – 30 at Camp Denali
July 31 – August 2 at North Face Lodge
Sherry Simpson’s work explores the wildlife, history, people, and landscapes of Alaska, where she has lived since she was seven. Though she grew up in Juneau, her love of natural history was kindled when her family spent a summer in Denali. She has also lived in Petersburg, Fairbanks, and Anchorage, but her first career as a newspaper reporter took her throughout Alaska covering such exciting events as the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest sled dog race, the 1988 gray whale rescue in Barrow, and a sailboat race around Admiralty Island. In addition to four travel books, she has published two essay collections: The Accidental Explorer and The Way Winter Comes, which won the Chinook Literary Prize.
Simpson’s recent book Dominion of Bears was described by bear researcher Andrew Derocher as a “wonderful addition to the bear literature that sparkles throughout with a combination of scholarship, personal experience, dashes of history, a hint of poetic license, and insights from a host of people past and present that all have something to say about Alaska’s three bears.” Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, literary journals, and anthologies and has won Sierra magazine’s nature writing contest, among other awards. Simpson teaches nonfiction writing in the MFA programs at the University of Alaska Anchorage and Pacific Lutheran University.
Simpson’s evening program "The Unseen Bear" will draw from her book and her experiences to describe the ways in which the bears inhabiting our imaginations are profoundly different from the bears inhabiting the lives of Alaskans from Kodiak to Kaktovik. A second program, “Natural History, Or What Happens When We’re Not Looking,” will feature selections from her work exploring what it means to share urban and wild landscapes with ravens, moose, wolves, bears, and other northern creatures. During the field excursions Sherry looks forward to sharing some of the fascinating insights and information about bears that wildlife biologists, bear-viewing guides, and other Alaskans contributed to her book.