Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 6:05 PM on Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homer writer, historian picked to receive Governor's Award

Staff Report


Photo by Michael Armstrong

Homer's Jim Rearden

Longtime Homer writer and historian Jim Rearden has been named to receive a Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities. Rearden receives the Humanities Award.

"I'm absolutely amazed. I had no idea. This is one of those life surprises," Rearden said. "It's a big, big honor."

Rearden moved to Alaska in 1950 to teach at University of Alaska Fairbanks; he moved to Homer in 1955. He worked at a variety of jobs, from building log homes to clerking at George Bishop's trading post.

He later became area biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and also outdoors editor for Alaska Magazine.

A writer all the time, he eventually had published more than 25 books and 500 articles in 40 different magazines, including National Geographic, Audubon, and Field and Stream.

He's best known for "Shadows on the Koyukuk," written with Sydney Huntington, and "Alaska's Wolfman," about Frank Glaser. His gift as a writer has been meeting and researching Alaska's characters and telling their stories.

Previous honors include an honorary doctorate from UAF and being named the Alaska Historical Society's Historian of the Year. Rearden's current writing project is a departure from his usual nonfiction: a fantasy novel that he's about 75,000 words into.

The awards will be presented during a dinner event Oct. 19 at the Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage. The awards are sponsored by the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Humanities Forum and the Office of the Governor.