Even though Alaska is a huge place, it’s possible for us Alaskans to form a rich web of connections. One way to pull us together is through a shared reading experience. To that end, Alaska Reads—a biannual event—will feature a work centered on some aspect of Alaskan life and culture written by a living Alaskan writer.

Our first book appropriately honors a Native Alaskan author. What we hope will be a long series of statewide reading events, begins with Tlingit author Ernestine Hayes’ Blonde Indian, a book of rich themes. Blonde Indian begins with Ernestine Hayes’ childhood in Juneau and follows her through a variety of difficult experiences that invite consideration of emotional, psychological and moral questions. Blended into the factual narrative are fictional elements as well, making for a complex structure. And Blonde Indian is a book of great beauty as well.

Thanks to the good offices of the Alaska Center for the Book, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska State Library, and the Rasmuson Foundation, Ernestine Hayes will travel around the state talking about Blonde Indian. Through the month of February 2016, Ernestine Hayes will travel from Ketchikan to Barrow, sixteen different towns, each with diverse groups of readers. In each town, she will meet  people in informal setting, taking their questions and entering into conversations about Blonde Indian.

The Alaska State Library has made copies of Blonde Indian available to all public libraries throughout the state. But if you are a reader who underlines and makes notes in the margins of your books, your local bookstore will have copies available. Blonde Indian is available as an e-book, too.

If Ernestine Hayes does not come to your town, you may get a chance to talk to her on a radio call-in through the Alaska Public Radio Network. And if you miss that chance, you can still read and talk about Blonde Indian with your friends and fellow readers.

About Blonde Indian

Ernestine Hayes biography

Ernestine’s travel schedule

Ernestine’s Appearance Schedule

Alaska Reads Poster with Schedule


Customizable Alaska Reads poster

Alaska Reads 2016 Book Plate

Alaska Native Memoirs and Biographies

Anchorage Public Library Anchorage Reads Website