Barrow writer among finalists for National Book Award

Edwardson tells of Inupiaq kids in boarding school.

Anchorage Daily NewsOctober 12, 2011 

Debby Dahl Edwardson of Barrow is one of five authors announced on Wednesday as finalists in the Young People's Literature category for the 62nd National Book Awards.

"My Name is Not Easy" is the story of three Inupiaq children sent to a boarding school between 1960 and 1964. The story deals with their homesickness, hope, loss and some specifically Alaska matters. Kirkus Reviews said, "The rivalry between Indian and Eskimo is made ... vivid, along with the stereotypes and bias that both sides believe about the other."

Kirkus called the book "painful, inspiring and affectionate."

Previous Alaska writers nominated for the award have included poets Tom Sexton (1975) and the late John Haines (1991). Linda McCarriston was also nominated, but for a collection of poetry published before she moved to Alaska as a professor at UAA.

The recipients of this year's awards in four categories will be announced at the National Book Awards Dinner on Nov. 16 in New York. The winner in each category will receive $10,000.

Edwardson will sign copies of her books from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Anchorage Museum, 625 C St.

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.

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