Postponed - Emma Stevens - Alaskan Memoirs

Published: 18-Apr-2018

This event was postponed and is now rescheduled for this date: Wednesday 18 April 7pm

Meet NZ author, Emma Stevens, at this Friends of the Library event.

Rangiora Library, Wednesday, 18 April 7pm. Book at any Waimakariri Library.


“The plane suddenly plunged, we were being thrown sideways straight at the looming mountain walls, the clouds exposed rocks one moment, snow the next, the small plane gradually righted itself but we were sinking into a canyon with walls of sheet ice,”  

- From Dancing on the Tundra, by Emma Stevens.

The Rangiora Library is hosting an evening with Emma Stevens, a NZ teacher raised in Whanganui where early contact with Maori profoundly influenced her life flowering into a lifelong interest and work with indigenous cultures. Her story involves Yup’ik Eskimo children, a Kiwi teacher and the watchful eyes of the entire Eskimo village.

Walking On Ice cover image 

Walking on Ice is the first book in a trilogy of memoirs about Emma Stevens’ life changing decision to leave her beloved New Zealand for bush Alaska: a world of snow and ice, caribou and bears. Convinced by a friend to try on-line dating, Emma is surprised to find herself corresponding with ‘Kotzman’, the principal of a high school in the Arctic Circle in Alaska. They are worlds apart: while Emma is picking spring flowers, Kotzman is ice fishing; Emma is wrapping up against the chill winds of an Otago winter, while Kotzman enjoys summer caribou camp.

Nesting on the Nushagak, book two of the trilogy, tells how Emma and her new husband begin married life teaching in a remote Yup’ik Eskimo village in south western Alaska where they face the isolation, bitter cold, and semi-dark of the long Alaskan winters.

“After I resettled in New Zealand with my husband, I began writing about my experiences with him in Alaska. I had no idea that I was embarking on a whole new adventure - as author, self-publisher and storyteller,” said Emma.

As the third book, Dancing on the Tundraopens, Emma is adjusting to ‘city life’ in a small hub city in south western Alaska with the man she married after an online romance blossomed into love. Emma’s husband is now the superintendent of nine Eskimo village schools. As bicultural coordinator, Emma flies to remote village schools to work with local teachers, and organises a Spring Festival, uniting villages in a huge dance celebration.

“I have a selection of artefacts from Alaska that includes many Eskimo dolls made from renowned Cup'ik doll-makers. The dolls are excellent examples of cultural information, some even come with personal stories about their lives, tucked into their pockets by their doll-maker,” said Emma.

Come and meet NZ author, Emma Stevens, at this fascinating Friends of the Library event. Emma will talk about her amazing life and adventures in remote "bush Alaska".

Rangiora Library, Wednesday, 18 April 7pm.

Memoirs will be available for sale.

Book at any Waimakariri Library or by phoning 03 311 8901.

author emma stevens image

Author Biography:

Emma Stevens has taught in New Zealand, Australia, England and the U.S.  Previously married to an African American musician, she attended the Grammy Awards and toured clubs in LA, London and the South of France. Her way of life changed completely when, divorced and in her late forties, she fell in love with the principal of an Inupiaq school in the Arctic Circle, Alaska. The couple married, and Emma spent the next  six years working beside her new husband in the icy wilderness of bush Alaska. Emma and her husband now live among orchards and vineyards just outside Nelson, in the South Island of New Zealand, where the winters are mild and the summers are long.