Alaska author Linda Schandelmeier wins national award

Alaska author and UAF graduate Linda Schandelmeier has won the 2019 WILLA Literary Award for her book of poems “Coming Out of Nowhere,” published in 2018 by the University of Alaska Press. This nationally recognized award honors the best each year in literature, featuring women’s or girls’ stories set in the West. Women Writing the West is a nonprofit association of writers and other professionals writing and promoting the Women’s West. The award is named in honor of novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Willa Cather. The winning authors and their books will be honored at the WWW Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, in October. 

Willa Award

“Coming Out of Nowhere” is part poetic memoir and part historical document, set on a family homestead six miles south of Anchorage, where Schandelmeier grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. The sparsity of neighbors and roads, and the isolation imposed by family circumstances, made life solitary and sometimes lonely, but rooted in the natural world. The book tells the story of a resilient family surviving on moose meat, potatoes and whatever else they could gather. The poems in this collection suggest a level of human experience beyond the mundane, one in which trees and mountains are almost members of the family. Schandelmeier does not shy away from unpleasant details in her family history, but she also recognizes the experience as one which was nurturing and unique.