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I was born in Anchorage, Alaska on March 27, 1952, and raised on a 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. When I wasn’t seasick I wrote stories about NORMAL children who lived on SHORE and made my mother read them.
In 1964, the Great Alaskan Earthquake occurred during my twelfth birthday party. In 1969 I graduated from high school, and put myself through college working as an egg grader, bookkeeper and expediter for Whitney-Fidalgo Seafoods in Anchorage.
I received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Alaska in 1973. After graduation, I spent one more summer knee-deep in humpies and blew everything I earned on a four-month backpacking trip to Europe where I discovered English pubs, German beer, and Irish men.
Fortuitously, upon my impoverished return home (I think I had something like twenty bucks and change in my pocket when I stepped off the plane) construction began again on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and answering to the call of the cash I worked for Alyeska Pipeline at Galbraith Lake and later for British Petroleum for six years at Prudhoe Bay. I made an obscene amount of money and went to Hawaii a lot.
In 1982 I turned 30. Was this what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, work on the Slope and party in Hawaii? Well…but no. I left the Slope for the last time on August 17, 1982, and enrolled in UAA’s MFA program, from which I graduated in 1985. My goal was to sell a book before I went broke and I just barely made it: Second Star was published by Ace Science Fiction in 1991. The first Kate Shugak novel, A Cold Day for Murder, was published in 1992 and won an Edgar award in 1993.
There are now three Star Svensdotter novels, four Liam Campbell novels, twenty-one Kate Shugak novels, two thrillers set on USCG cutters, a short story collection, a collection of the Alaska Traveler columns I wrote for Alaska magazine, and Silk and Song, a novel about Marco Polo’s grand-daughter traveling the Silk Road west between 1322-1327. Next up is a novel featuring Cleopatra’s fixer, the Eye of Isis, and following that the 22nd Kate Shugak novel.

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Dana Stabenow
Writer in Residence