Stories We Tell and the People Who Tell Them
Keynote Address by Frank Soos on Friday, October 2, 2015, Cordova, Alaska
Frank Soos is Alaska State Writer Laureate and Professor Emeritus of English at University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is an author of fiction and nonfiction. His books include the short story collections Early Yet and Unified Field Theory (winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction), and a book of essays, Bamboo Fly Rod Suite. With artist Kesler Woodward, he edited Under Northern Lights: Alaskan Writers and Artists on the Alaskan Landscape. Most recently, he has collaborated with his wife, Margo Klass, on Double Moon: Constructions and Conversations, a collection of her box constructions and his short essay responses to them.
In his career as a teacher, Frank has been lucky to have been helpful to some of Alaska’s best writers among them Eva Saulitis, Sherry Simpson, Jerah Chadwick and Nicole Stellon-O’Donnell, each of whom has addressed some element of Alaska’s history. Now a thirty-year Alaskan, Frank lives as fully in the landscape as he can by fly fishing, cycling and cross-country skiing.
In his talk, Frank will use a variety of personal experiences and a range of sources to raise the questions of how we decide what to write about and how we account for our authorial selves in what we write. Drawing from other writers as diverse as paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould and popular culture critic Tom Wolfe, with brief stops at Classical Greek historians and the World Book Encyclopedia, Frank will ask his audience to examine themselves as carefully as they do their subject when they sit down to write history.