The Lois Level Reads Alaska

Researching “State Reads” is not easy; it’s hard to find specific information about all of the authors, and most lists are incomplete or don’t differentiate between books set in the state and written by locals.

If you have any information you think I should add (or correct), PLEASE contact me! I want this series to be as complete as possible.

Comment below, e-mail, or go through the social media links below.

Books Written by Alaskans and Set in Alaska


Velma Wallis

Velma Wallis grew up in a remote village near Fort Yukon. See her memoir, Raising Ourselves, below.

Eowyn Ivey

Ivey was raised in Alaska.

Seth Kantner

Seth Kantner lives in Kotzebue.

John Straley

John Straley lives in Sitka.

Dana Stabenow

Dana Stabenow was born in Anchorage.

Nancy Lord

Nancy Lord lives in Homer.

Sue Henry

Stan Jones

Jones lives in Anchorage.

Don Reardon

Don Reardon lives in Anchorage.

Kris Farmen

Kris Farmen lives on the lower Kenai Penninsula.

Barrett Willoughby

Free Read

Nonfiction and Poetry

Margaret Murie

Margaret Murie lived in Fairbanks. She and Olaus Murie, below, were married.

Olaus Murie

Leslie Leyland Fields

Fields lives on Kodiak Island.

Nora Marks Dauenhauer

Marks Dauenhauer is from Juneau.

Richard Dauenhauer

Dauenhauer lived in Anchorage. With his wife, Nora Marks Dauenhauer, he helped bring Tlingit language education into Alaskan schools.

Dan O’Neill

Dan O’Neill lives in Fairbanks.

Nick Jans

Jans lives in the Northwest Arctic and is a prolific writer on Alaska.

Christine Byl

Christine Byl lives near Denali National Park.

Erin Coughlin Hollowell

Sherry Simpson

Marybeth Holleman

Marybeth Holleman lives in Anchorage.

Frank Soos

Soos lived in Fairbanks.

Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen maintains a spread north of Willow where he trains sled dogs. He is mostly known for Young Adult and children’s books, but he also wrote Winterdance, an adult book about the Iditarod.

Sam Keith

Dick Proenneke

Sam Keith and Dick Proenneke met and became life long friends while working in Kodiak. Years later, Keith expanded and revised Proenneke’s journals. Keith’s own journals of his experiences in Kodiak were published posthumously in 2013.

Old films of Pronneke form the basis for the PBS documentary series, Alone in the Wilderness.

Jean Aspen

Jean Aspen has spent her life in Alaska, most notably near the Brooks Mountain Range.

Debbie S. Miller

Miller first moved to Alaska to teach native children above the Arctic circle. She has lived there for more than 40 years and writes books about Alaska for children and adults.

John Haines

Haines homesteaded in Alaska and later lived in Fairbanks.

David Marusek

Marusek has lived in Fairbanks.

Charles Wohlforth

Wohlforth lives in Anchorage. He has also written several travel guides to Alaska through different series.

Peter Kalifornsky

Alan Boraas

Kalifornsky was born in Kalifornsky Village.

Boraas edited Kalifornsky’s work and wrote the included biography of Kalifornsky.

Jim Reardon

Peggy Shumaker

Shumaker lives in Fairbanks. She is primarily a poet, but here memoir is shown below.

Lynn Schooler

Lynn Schooler lives in Juneau.

Ernestine Hayes

Ernestine Hayes was born in Juneau.

Velma Wallis

See her novel, Two Old Women, above.

Sidney Huntington

Sidney Huntington was born in Hughes.

Heather Lende

Heather Lende lives in Haines. She keeps an up-to-date blog at heatherlende.com

Lydia T. Black

Lydia T. Black lived in Kodiak.

Ann Fienup-Riordan

Fienup-Riordan lives in Anchorage.

Eva Saulitis

Saulitis lives near Prince William Sound.

Frank Bailey

Books Written for Older Children and Young Adults

Gary Paulsen

Also see Gary Paulsen’s adult book about the Iditarod above.

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock is from Alaska and has lived and worked around the state, including Fairbanks.

Tom Bodett

Tom Bodett has lived in Homer. He is well known as the spokesperson for the American hotel chain Motel 6.

Monica Devine

Devine is from Eagle River. Water Mask is a memoir.

Deb Vanasse

Deb Vanasse lives in Eagle River. She has written numerous books for Young Adults and children about Alaska.

Debby Dahl Edwardson

Debby Dahl Edwardson lives in Utqiagvik. 

Shelly Gill

Gill lives in Homer and writes children’s books about Alaskan animals and folklore.


Other Books Written by Alaskans


Lucia Berlin

Lucia Berlin was from Juneau.

Read The Lois Level’s When life won’t let you rest: Lucia Berlin’s Short Stories for more about this book.

Andromeda Romano-Lax

Andromeda Romano-Lax has lived in Anchorage.

Annalee Blysse


Books Written for Older Children and Young Adults

Other Books Set in Alaska


Edna Ferber

Michael Chabon

Tracie Peterson

Peterson lives in Montana and writes Christian romance, including the Yukon Quest series set in Alaska.

James Greiner

Janet Dailey


Georg Wilhelm Stellar

Stellar was a German naturalist who was credited with being the first non-native to set foot on Alaskan soil.

Joe Mcginniss

Joe McGinniss was an investigative journalist who wrote two books about Alaska. The second was an unauthorized biography of Sara Palin, called The Rogue.

Books Written for Older Children and Young Adults

Jean Craighead George

Craighead George also wrote two sequels to Julie of the Wolves: Julie and Julie’s Wolf Pack.

Walt Morey

Morey wrote numerous children’s books, that have become classics, set in the Pacific northwest and Alaska. Gentle Ben is the basis for a television show by the same name.

How we picked these books:

Please comment at the bottom or on Facebook with suggestions. The idea is to make each state’s page as complete as possible but focused enough so that the page gives the reader an overall sense of place.


In the case where the author has written several books set in the state, the most famous or recently published one will be selected. Multiple books will be shown only if there is a reason to do so (e.g. significant topics, different genres, etc.).

The author may be listed in more than one category, usually because the author’s most famous book is not set in the state. The famous book is listed to help readers recognize the author, but additional, less well known books, will be listed for those who want to read more about the state.

The intended audience for the The Lois Level is adult general readers, so books considered primarily for academic use will not be listed. For the same reason, authors who are completely out of print will usually not be included.

Children’s books are limited to those that have adult appeal. Normally picture books are not included.

Recent and significant biographies of state notables are included with priority given to those written by state natives/residents or to individuals whose major contributions were state related.

Biographical Information

Wikipedia and author web pages are the primary sources for author information. If the author has several connections, usually the earliest one (birth, childhood) is used.

About the Cover Photo

Believe it or not, this is an international border between British Columbia, Canada and Alaska. Credit: Tdevries at the English language Wikipedia / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Believe it or not, this is an international border between British Columbia, Canada and Alaska.

Credit: Tdevries at the English language Wikipedia / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)