Heather Lende is the current Alaska State Writer Laureate. Her essays and stories, mostly about life and sometimes death in Haines, Alaska have been distributed widely, from The Anchorage Daily News and Christian Science Monitor to NPR and Country Living. She is a former contributing editor at Woman’s Day magazine and for over twenty years wrote some 400 obituaries for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines. She is the author of bestselling memoirs from Algonquin Books, 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 in 2020. Her honors include the Alaska Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities, the Episcopal Bishop of Alaska’s Bishop’s Cross Award and the Middlebury College Alumni Award. She is on the faculty of the North Words Writers Symposium. Find the Good was last year’s Alaska Reads pick. Born and raised in New York, Heather attended Locust Valley Friends Academy, earned a BA in history from Middlebury College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She and her husband Chip have lived in Haines for about 40 years where they own a lumberyard and hardware store. They have five children and 9 grandchildren.
Heather is involved in the Haines community on many levels, from the library and public radio to sporting events and hospice care. She sings in the Haines women’s choir and has served on the Haines school board and on the Haines Borough Assembly. Heather also likes to hang out with her family, ride her bike fast, swim at the pool, and hike with her dogs in all kinds of weather.