Watch a recording of this event:
49 Writers Inspiration Series: Caroline Van Hemert
Recorded: Thursday, March 30 | 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Inspiration is a 49 Writers series in which Writer Laureate Heather Lende will interview some of Alaska’s premier writers about their work, process, and the writing life.
Caroline Van Hemert is an Alaskan author, adventurer, and wildlife biologist. Winner of the Banff Mountain Book Award for Adventure Travel and cited as one of the best outdoor books of 2019 by Outside, Bustle, Forbes, and Amazon, The Sun is a Compass follows a 4,000-mile, human-powered expedition to the Arctic. Caroline’s journeys, both personal and professional, have taken her from the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean to the swamps of the Okavango Delta. Along the way, she has been outsmarted by Cheeto-eating crows, stalked by predatory bears, charged by elephants, and humbled by 10-gram chickadees that shiver through long winter nights.
Her writing , which explores the intersections between science, motherhood, and the natural world, has been featured in the New York Times, Audubon, Outside, Vogue, Washington Post, and more. She has also received grants and support from the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation, Yaddo, PLAYA, Society for American Travel Writers, Sustainable Arts Foundation, and Whiting Foundation. In addition to her creative work, Van Hemert studies wildlife health in the Arctic. With her husband and two young sons, she bounces between a cozy home in downtown Anchorage, a remote, off-the-grid cabin near Haines, Alaska, and life at sea. Caroline holds a Ph.D. in wildlife biology and an M.A. in creative writing.
Heather Lende is the Alaska State Writer Laureate and the author of four bestselling memoirs from Algonquin Books, the 2020 Alaska Reads pick, Find the Good, If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, and most recently Of Bears and Ballots about her contentious 2016-19 term on the Haines Borough Assembly. Her many essays and stories, mostly about life and sometimes death, have been distributed widely. Heather is a former Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Dispatch columnist and contributing editor at Woman’s Day magazine and has written hundreds of obituaries for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines where she lives with her husband Chip. They have five adult children. She is the recipient of the 2021 Middlebury College distinguished alumni award, the Alaska Governor’s Award for Arts and Humanities, the Episcopal Bishop of Alaska’s Bishop’s Cross award, and the Jason Wegner Memorial Writing Award from UAA, where she earned an MFA in Creative Writing.