Bill Sherwonit billsherwonit@alaskawriters.com


 
About the Author
Résumé
Books
Essays
Home

Living with Wildness Interview

Chugach State Park book, featuring photography by Carl Battreall

49 Writers Blog Posting: Of Essays & Animal Stories

Facebook Page: Animal Stories by Bill Sherwonit

The Nature of Cities blog posting, 2012: Rediscovering Wildness -- and finding the "wild man" -- in Alaska's Urban Center

   
Resume
 

Bill Sherwonit
Anchorage, Alaska 99517
(Resume updated Fall 2014)

EDUCATION
Pierce College, Woodland Hills, California: Enrolled in journalism program for three semesters, including two semesters on the school newspaper as sports writer/editor, 1978-79. Several journalism department awards.
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona: Master of Science degree in geology, 1974.
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine: Bachelor of Science degree in geology, 1971. Dean’s list every semester. National Merit Scholar. Graduated Cum Laude.

WORK EXPERIENCE
June 1992 to present
Freelance nature writer focusing on Alaskan subjects and issues, with an emphasis on wilderness adventure, wildlands preservation, the natural history of Alaska’s plants and animals, ecotourism, wildlife management, relationship with place, and notions of wildness.

I’ve written essays and articles for a wide range of publications, including newspapers, magazines, journals, guidebooks, and anthologies. I’m also the author of several books about Alaska (see "Books," below). Though my writing background is in journalism, in recent years I’ve increasingly worked in the literary genre of creative non-fiction, especially the personal essay form, and have also written several pieces that fit the category of literary journalism. My first creative nonfiction, literary book, a collection of essays titled "Living with Wildness: An Alaskan Odyssey," was published in summer 2008 by the University of Alaska Press. In fall 2009, the UA Press published a book-length literary narrative about my long-running and life-changing relationship with the central Brooks Range: "Changing Paths: Travels and Meditations in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness." And in 2011 I contributed the essay that accompanies Carl Battreall's photographers in "Chugach State Park: Alaska's Backyard Wilderness." I frequently write essys about my relationship with the place where I live, Anchorage’s Hillside, and the wildness to be found in and around Alaska’s urban center, as well as the state's remote backcountry.

In 2009 I entered new terrain to become a contributor to the blogsite The Nature of Cities.

As part of my "writing life" I’ve taught classes in nature writing, "wilderness writing" and travel-adventure writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage (see below) and on my own. I have also taught weekend writing workshops and been a presenter at the Kachemak Bay Writers Conference in Homer and the Alaska Book Festival in Fairbanks. Over the years I have visited several primary and secondary schools within the Anchorage area to discuss the writing process, keeping a journal, nature writing, and the importance of paying attention to the natural world around us. I have also made numerous other public appearances; these have included Earth Day Readings, panel discussions and workshops at Anchorage’s Writing Rendezvous, readings of my work at the Island Institute’s Sitka Symposium, and slide shows, readings, and natural history discussions at local bookstores, the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, the Anchorage Museum, natural history symposiums, and the Eagle River Nature Center, as well as at bookstores in Fairbanks and Seattle. Finally, I’ve been interviewed numerous times, on both radio and television programs.

Adjunct instructor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Before "going out on my own," I taught 18 semesters of writing at the university, primarily in classes offered as continuing-education courses through the Alaska Wilderness Studies Program, but also through the Creative Writing and Literary Arts Department. In each of the classes, I emphasized creative non-fiction in the form of personal essays. For several years I have taught an independent class on nature writing and have also taught a workshop on essay writing for the 49 Alaska Writing Center.

February 1985 to June 1992
Outdoors writer at The Anchorage Times. Primary responsibilities included news, feature and column writing. Main focus was the Sunday Outdoors section and Thursday Outdoors page, but also contributed to sports and news sections. Areas of coverage included hiking, backpacking, camping, mountaineering, kayaking, rafting, wildlife and fisheries management, land management, natural history, state and federal parks, skiing, fishing, hunting, mushing and environmental issues.

January 1980 to February 1985
Sports writer, first at the Simi Valley Enterprise (California) then, beginning in 1982, at The Anchorage Times.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

BOOKS
Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska's Wildlife, Alaska Northwest Books, 2014.
Denali National Park: The Complete Visitors Guide to the Mountain, Wildlife, and Year-Round Outdoor Activities. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, 2013.
Chugach State Park: Alaska's Backyard Wilderness. Anchorage: Greatland Graphics, 2011.
Changing Paths: Travels and Meditations in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2009.
Living with Wildness: An Alaskan Odyssey. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2008.
Wood-Tikchik: Alaska’s Largest State Park. NY: Aperture Foundation, 2003.
Travelers’ Tales Alaska. San Francisco: Travelers Tales, Inc., 2003.
Iditarod: The Great Race to Nome. Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2002.
Denali: The Complete Guide. Portland: Alaska Northwest Books, 2002.
Denali: A Literary Anthology. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, 2000.
Alaska’s Bears. Portland: Alaska Northwest Books, 1998.
Alaska’s Accessible Wilderness: A Traveler’s Guide to Alaska’s State Parks. Portland: Alaska Northwest Books, 1996.
Alaska Ascents. Portland: Alaska Northwest Books, 1996.
Iditarod: The Great Race to Nome. Seattle: Alaska Northwest Books, 1991.
To the Top of Denali: Climbing Adventures on North America's Highest Peak. Seattle: Alaska Northwest Books, 1990, revised second edition, 2000.

ANTHOLOGIES IN WHICH MY WORK HAS APPEARED
"Twelve Ways of Viewing Alaska's Wild, White Sheep," in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014
"Back on the Hillside: Of Strawberries, Chickadees & Memories," in Season of Change, 2010.
"Out of the Depths," in Crosscurrents North: Alaskans on the Environment, 2008.
"In the Company of Bears," in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007.
"At 70, Mom Finally Goes Camping," in Still Going Strong: Memoirs, Stories, and Poems about Great Older Women, 2006.
"Travels with William," in Vacations: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, 2006.
"Journey to the Night Sky," Best Travel Writing 2005
"Hairy Man Lives," in Travelers’ Tales Alaska, 2003.
"Picking Blueberries," in Take Two -- They’re Small: Writings About Food, 2002.
"Anchorage’s Hillside: Living with Wildness," in American Nature Writing, 2001.
"Polar Bears and Seismic Testing," in Arctic Refuge: A Circle of Testimony, 2001.
"Summer Storm," in Earth Beneath, Sky Beyond: Nature and Our Planet, 2000.
"In the Shadow of the High One," in Denali: A Literary Anthology, 2000.
"The Friendly Bear," in Danger! True Stories of Trouble and Survival, 1999.
"The Sourdough Expedition, 1910," in The Last New land: Stories of Alaska Past and Present, 1996.

RECENT ESSAYS AND ARTICLES IN JOURNALS, MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS
"Sanctuary?" in the Anchorage Press, 2014
"Northern Goshawks: Fierce Hunters of the Northern Forest," in Alaska magazine, 2014
"Seasons of the Moose," in the Anchorage Press, 2013
"Twelve Ways of Viewing Alaska's Wild, White Sheep," in the Anchorage Press, 2013
"Visiting Old Friends," in Alaska magazine, 2013
"Of Waxwings and Goshawks and Standing Up to Power," in the Anchorage Press, 2013
"The Last Nature Writer," in ISLE, 2012
"The Wondrous Wood Frog," in Alaska magazine, 2012
“Meeting a Legend: Wolverine,” in the Anchorage Press, 2012.
"A Riot of Wood Frogs," in Appalachia, 2012
"Alaska's Newest Wildlife Experiment," in the Anchorage Press, 2012
"Birding on Kauai," in Birdwatchers's Digest, 2012
"Frog Love Song," in the Anchorage Press, 2012
"No Fear," in the Anchorage Press, 2011
"True Believers," in the Anchorage Press, 2011
"A Wolf on the Ridgeline," The Christian Science Monitor website," 2010
"Searching for Gordon Haber," in the Anchorage Press, 2010
"In Search of the White Whale," in Defenders, 2010
"Mystery of the Chickadees," in the Anchorage Press, 2010
"The Necessity of Celebrating the Miraculous," in Writing Nature, 2010
"Arctic Tundra is Being Lost as Far North Quickly Warms," e360.yale.edu website, 2010
"On a Winter's Day, an Abundance of Bugs," in Cirque, 2009
"Reflections on Thrush Songs, Newt Tracks, and Old Growth Stands of Trees," in ISLE, 2009
"Nabesna: The Road Less Traveled," on Alaska Dispatch website, 2009
“A Foreclosure of Swallows: Point Woronzof’s Other Airshow,” in the Anchorage Press, 2009
“Great Blue Heron,” in Writing Nature, 2009
"The Songbird Mystery," in Wildlife Conservation 2008
"The Seasons Fly By," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2008
"Alone in the Arctic," in the Anchorage Press, 2008
"Alaska's Pebble Mine: Fish vs. Gold," on e360.yale.edu website, 2008
"A Glimpse into Glittering Eyes," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2008
"Walrus in a Warming World," in Defenders magazine, 2008
"Muddied," in the Anchorage Press, 2008
"Moose, will you come out tonight?," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2008
"Gunning for Black Bears," in the Anchorage Press, 2008
"Visited by Waxwings," in the Anchorage Press, 2008
"The Wild Christmas Tree," in the Anchorage Press, 2007
"Otter Catastrophe?" in Wildlife Conservation, 2007
"In Search of the Wild Man," in the Anchorage Press 2007
"Grand Gateway: Trekking through Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve," in Alaska Airlines Magazine, 2007
"Blueberry Secrets," in the Anchorage Press, 2007
"Bad News for Bears," in Natural History, 2007
"Poetry is Perfect Outdoors," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2007
"First Snow," in Writing Nature, 2007
"Deadly Surprise," in the Anchorage Press, 2007
"Thunder Mountain," in Alaska Airlines Magazine, 2007
"My Connecticut Roots," in Connecticut Woodlands, 2006
"There's Much to Learn from an Owl," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2006
"Into the World with a Nudge and a Flap," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2006
"In the Company of Bears," in the Anchorage Press, 2006
"Sitting with a Tree," in Pilgrimage, 2006
"The Lost Coast," in Alaska, 2006
"He's Been Everywhere: Crossing Paths with Porcupine," in the Anchorage Press, 2006
"Near Anchorage, Moose Carcasses Hint of Wolves," in Appalachia, 2006
"Aurora Lights Up the Denali Sky, in Appalachia, 2006
"In the Heart of Denali," Alaska Airlines Magazine, 2006
"Alaskans See Red Over Gold," in Trout, 2005
"Working the Wild Side," in Alaska, 2005
"The Other Refuge," in the Anchorage Press, 2005
"Robin’s Serenade," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2005
"Shelter – and Hoops – on a Stormy Night," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2005
"Wild Lands," in Alaska Airlines Magazine, 2005
"A Gift of Halibut," in Pilgrimage, 2004.
"Chugach State Park: Wilderness at the Edge of Town," in ISLE, 2004.
"Nuka Island Solo," in Paddler, 2004.
"Denali Autumn," in Appalachia, 2004.
"Teaming with Alaska’s Natives to Save Land and a Way of Life," in Wilderness, 2004.
"Counting Losses," in Writing Nature, 2004.
"The Delicate Art of Shooing a Moose," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2004.
"To See the Wild, Stay Open to Surprises," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2004.
"Alaska Meltdown: On the Frontlines of Climate Change," in National Parks, 2004.
"Tracking Toxics," in Orion, 2003.
"Finding Solace on the River," in Paddler, 2003.
"Wilderness Homeland," in National Parks, 2003.
"Protecting the Wolves of Denali," National Parks, 2003.
"A Gathering of Swans," in Pilgrimage, 2003.
"Listening to Owl," in Writing Nature, 2003.
"Escape to Skolai," in Alaska, 2003.
"Up Against the Wall," in Alaska, 2003.
"What I Found Between the Sounds," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2002.
"The Harvest Feeds My Hungry Spirit," in The Christian Science Monitor, 2002.
"Song of the Arctic," Alaska, 2002
"Mountain of Trash," Alaska, 2002
"Shuyak Island: Paddling Backcountry Alaska," Sea Kayaker, 2002

OTHER PUBLICATIONS IN WHICH ESSAYS AND ARTICLES HAVE APPEARED
MAGAZINES/JOURNALS
Alaska Geographic
Audubon
Backpacker
Birder’s World
Birder’s Digest
Climbing
Dark Moon Lilith
Earth
National Wildlife
Outside
Petroglyph
Sierra
Summit
Sunset
World Traveler
NEWSPAPERS
Anchorage Daily News
Boston Sunday Globe
Chicago Tribune
Dallas Morning News
Denver Post
San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles Times
Miami Herald
Salt Lake City Tribune
Seattle Times

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment
International League of Conservation Writers

HONORS, AWARDS, GRANTS


Writing Honors & Awards
"Twelve Ways of Viewing Alaska's Wild, White Sheep< selected for the Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014
Notable Mention, Best American Essays 2014, "Of Waxwings and Goshawks and Standing Up to Power"
Notable Mention, Best American Essays 2013, "The Last Nature Writer"
"Changing Paths: Travels and Meditations in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness," selected for America's WILD READ, 2011
"In the Company of Bears" selected for the Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007
Notable Mention, Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010, "Reflections on Thrush Songs, Newt Tracks, and Old-Growth Stands of Trees,” 2009, "The Songbird Mystery," and 2008, "Otter Catastrophe,"
"Journey to the Night Sky," selected for The Best Travel Writing 2005
Notable Mention, Best American Travel Writing 2003, for "Song of the Arctic"
Banff Mountain Book Festival, Special Jury Mention for Alaska Ascents in 1996 and finalist for Mountain Literature Award in 2001, for my book Denali: A Literary Anthology.
Outdoor Writers Association of America (several writing awards from 1990 through 2010, including first-place honors in outdoor ethics, environmental/conservation writing, and travel writing).
Nike Earthwrite Award (national competition), honorable mention, 1997, for essay/opinion writing.
Associated Press Sports Editors (first place nationally, sports event, 1985; fourth place, column writing, 1984; third place, enterprise writing, 1987).
Alaska Press Club (numerous awards from 1984 through 1991); SDX/SPJ, Northwest Region (several awards from 1986 through 1991).

Residencies, grants, and other honors
Rasmuson Foundation (Anchorage, Alaska), $5,000 Individual Artist Project Award, 2006
Writing Residency, Andrews Expermental Forest, as part of the Forest's Long Term Ecological Reflections program, Oregon, fall 2006
Writing residency, the Mesa Refuge, Point Reyes, California, May-June 2004
Selected to participate in the Environmental Writing Institute, 2001.
Career Opportunity Grant, Alaska State Council on the Arts, 2001, to participate in the Environmental Writing Institute.
Sierra Cup award, presented by the Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club in December 1989, for contributions to the cause of conservation through my job with The Anchorage Times.
Wildlife Federation of Alaska award, for coverage of environmental issues.

 

 
 
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AlaskaWriter illustrations and site design copyright 2003, 2004
Sonya Senkowsky and AlaskaWriter. All rights reserved.

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