Katherine McNamara is the author of a non-fiction narrative, Narrow Road to the Deep North, A Journey into the Interior of Alaska, and co-author and editor of From the First Beginning, When the Animals Were Talking, with the late Dena’ina Athabaskan author Peter Kalifornsky. She is founding editor and publisher (1996-2007) of Archipelago.org, a journal of literature, the arts, and opinion published on the Web, and now directs Artist’s Proof Editions, an imprint of Archipelago Publishers, Inc., where she is also an iBooks producer and makes video poems. She is an External Fellow, Virginia Humanities, and an active member of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center. Her exhibition “An Archipelago of Readers, Forming a Literary Culture in Digital Media,” was on display June 2017-May 2018, in The Rotunda, University of Virginia, at the invitation of Rare Book School.
Katherine McNamara has read, spoken, and taught at Cambridge University, University College Dublin, Fort Ross State Park, California, and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and has published in Alaska Quarterly Review and New Voices in Native American Literary Criticism, ed. Arnold Krupat. Her essay on Faulkner, “The Bear,” and hunting, first published in The James Dickey Review, appeared in translation in the Roman literary-academic journal Ácoma. Her poems have appeared in British Columbia Monthly, Orca (5), Hunger and Dreams, and Unlacing: Ten Irish-American Women Poets (both from Fireweed Press), and elsewhere. Her poems were including in the installation "Home by Lynx Light," by Jo Going (Anchorage Museum), and a monotype by Catherine Doss. She has received writing fellowships to Cill Rialiag, Co. Kerry, Ireland; the Heinrich Böll Cottage, Achill Is., Ireland; Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; Dzanc Books/DISQUIET, Lisbon; Women's International Study Center, Santa Fe; and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She resides in Charlottesville, Va., and is on Facebook and Twitter.
Narrow Road to the Deep North, A Journey into the Interior of Alaska
“The reader of this book takes up an account of a long journey, a physical and metaphysical journey, into a country of Imagination. That country is Alaska." So begins this extraordinary story of a young woman’s experiences among Athabaskan Indians in the interior of Alaska. A poet recently returned from the literary salons of Paris, the author takes a job teaching in a remote region of Alaska. As she comes to know the region and its peoples—as she learns to see the visible and invisible world around her—she finds herself more and more the student rather than the teacher.
A true story on an epic scale, told with a relentless realism that portrays Alaska and its people without romanticizing them, charged with a unique and informed intelligence, Narrow Road to the Deep North is the moving story of a woman’s path to knowledge in a remote and austere land.
“A finely wrought, layered story ... rich with affectionate, precise profiles of native people and white outsiders.... Whether writing about intimate relationships, poetry, or the intricacies of village life, her approach is full of grace and equanimity.”