Feb. 6, 2009: Willie Hensley introduces memoir

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Tonight, Feb. 6, 7-9 p.m. Fine Arts Building, Room 150

Alaska Native activist Willie Hensley presents his book Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People, accompanied with a personal photo journey. The event is sponsored by the UAA Campus Bookstore and a book signing will follow Willie Hensley's talk.

The New York Times reviewed Hensley's book in its Friday, Jan. 23 edition; here's an excerpt:

Alaska is white, cold and exotic, or it's cruise ship fantasy of fast-melting glaciers and camera-friendly caribou seen between first and second helpings at the buffet table. But every now and then someone comes along with a story that lays a serious claim to Alaskan authenticity, advancing the Outside's view of what life is really like in the Great Land.

With his memoir of Alaska, the Inupiat elder William L. Iggiagruk Hensley offers a coming-of-age story for a state and a people, both still young and in the making. And while there are familiar notes in the Dickensian telling of this tale, Hensley manages to make fresh an old narrative of people who arise just as their culture is being erased -- be they "Braveheart" Scotsmen or outback Aborigines. His book is also bright and detailed, moving along at a clip most sled dogs would have trouble keeping up with.

Everyone is invited to this free event. For more information, contact Rachel Epstein at (907) 786-4782.

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