Prescription: Author to share inspiration

Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2007

Homestead-era history buffs, genealogy enthusiasts and aspiring writers may want to drop by the Kenai Community Library tonight at 6 p.m. for a presentation featuring Naomi Gaede-Penner, author of the Alaska non-fiction series "Prescription for Adventure."

"I think a lot of people will enjoy this," said Julie Niederhauser, assistant library director.

Gaede-Penner is a writer, educator and speaker who now lives in Colorado, but maintains close ties to this area. Her family owns a large homestead in Soldotna, and Gaede-Penner has in the past also taught a "Writing the Personal Story" class at Kenai Peninsula College and wrote a "Telling Our Stories" column for the Peninsula Clarion.

So far in the "Prescription for Adventure" series, Geade-Penner has two books, one of which is "Bush Pilot Doctor" which revolves around the supper table storytelling of her father, Elmer Gaede.

"Her father was an early physician in the area," Niederhauser said, and much of this book details the medical challenges he faced, as well as other flying, hunting and dramatic stories such as hanging on to a psychotic patient who was attempting to bail out of his plane 2,000 feet above the Yukon River.

Gaede-Penner's second book in the series is "Prescription for Finding Home in Alaska," which introduces her entire family and details their exploits, from driving up from Kansas along the Alaska Highway to adapting and their eventual thriving life in the Soldotna area in the 1960's.

"For the people that came up here then, it's like stepping back in time, and for those of us that came later, it's intriguing to learn about what it was like for the hardy, independent people that came and lived in isolation, through difficult times, only depending on family," Niederhauser said.

In addition to sharing her own family stories during the presentation at the library, Gaede-Penner will be encouraging others to do the same.

"She'll speak about family stories, which I think everyone has. But they're oral traditions, so she encourages people to write them down so not only are they not forgotten or lost over time, but so other people can also enjoy them," Niederhauser said.

Niederhauser added Gaede-Penner will also be autographing copies of her books and will talk about the challenges of the writing process.

"There will be questions and answers for aspiring writers," she said.

Niederhauser said the Gaede-Penner feature is another in the library's ongoing efforts to showcase the talent of local authors.

"We encourage local writers to come in and share their work, especially with other fledgling writers. All people need to do is just contact me and we can organize it," Niederhauser said.

For more information on Naomi Gaede-Penner's presentation, or to contact Niederhauser, call the Kenai Community Library at 283-4378.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at

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