For Leigh Newman, summers meant fishing and flying in the bush with the "Great Alaskan Dad" while the rest of the year was spent attending a Baltimore private school and life with her fragile single mother.
Leigh's fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, Tin House, Vogue, Real Simple, and The New York Times. She teaches at New York University's creative writing program and is Books Editor at Oprah.com
Jean Potter was on the staff of Fortune magazine from 1936 to 1942. Her first book, Alaska Under Arms, published in 1942, was the result of an extensive trip made to Alaska on a Fortune assignment shortly before the United Stated entered the Second World War. Fascinated by the territory and the heavy use of aviation there, Ms. Potter returned on her own in 1943 and spent a year and a half talking and flying with the bush pilots. The Flying North is the result of that research. In 1956, she published The Flying Frontiersman, a version of the book adapted for children. Ms. Potter, who met her husband Anatole Chelnov while writing in Alaska, died at her home in San Francisco in 1996, she was 82.
John Straley is a novelist, poet and private investigator. His tenth crime novel, Baby's First Felony, is newly out from Soho Press. His first book of poetry, The Rising and the Rain, was published by the University of Alaska press. He has won the Shamus award and the Spotted Owl award for his detective fiction, and was appointed the twelfth Alaska Writer Laureate in 2006. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He lives in a bright green house by Old Sitka Rocks with his wife Jan, a noted marine biologist.
Sherry Simpson is the author of The Accidental Explorer: Wayfinding in Alaska and Dominion of Bears: Living with Wildlife in Alaska, which won the 2015 John Burroughs medal for nature writing. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, magazines, and anthologies, including Orion, Creative Nonfiction, Harvard Review, and Best American Essays 2018. She is a professor of creative nonfiction writing in the Low-Residency MFA program at the University of Alaska Anchorage and teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.