Fritz Agency
Published by
Turtle Point Press (September 2021)
Current material
Biography & non-fiction prose


The Ada Blackjack Story

by Glancy, Diane

Diane Glancy once again puts Indigenous women at the center of American history in her account of a young Inupiat woman who survived a treacherous arctic expedition alone.

In September 1921, a young Inupiat woman named Ada Blackjack traveled to Wrangel Island, 200 miles off the Arctic Coast of Siberia, as a cook and seamstress, along with four professional explorers. The expedition did not go as planned. When a rescue ship finally broke through the ice two years later, she was the only survivor.

Diane Glancy discovered Blackjack's diary in the Dartmouth archives and created a new narrative based on the historical record and her vision of this woman's extraordinary life. She tells the story of a woman facing danger, loss, and unimaginable hardship, yet surviving against the odds where four “experts” could not. Beyond the expedition, the story examines Blackjack's childhood experiences at an Indian residential school, her struggles as a mother and wife, and the faith that enabled her to survive alone on a remote island in the Arctic Sea.

Glancy's creative telling of this heroic tale is a high mark in her award-winning hybrid investigations suffering, identity, and Native American history.

The book will be published on the 100th anniversary of the expedition. The cover art, by the notable fiber artist Anne Kingsbury, symbolizes Ada by the Arctic Sea and the handiwork and faith that helped keep her alive.

Diane Glancy is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and professor emeritus at Macalester College. Part Cherokee, and of English and German descent, Glancy was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Her works have won the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas, a Juniper Prize for Poetry, and the 1993 American Book Award for Claiming Breath. In 2018, Publishers Weekly named her book Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears one of the ten essential Native American novels. Her 2020 work, Island of the Innocent: A Consideration of the Book of Job continues and deepens a lifelong exploration of the religious and cultural dimensions of identity.

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Language Territory Type Vendor Status
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Fritz Agency
Antonia Fritz

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Stunning. ...A graphic and compelling mosaic of human tragedy (starred review).

Quote: Library Journal

Glancy is a treasure. -- American Book Review

Quote: Client

A moving testament to the creative act of enduring —Foreword Reviews, Starred Review

Quote: Client

What bounty to have Glancy's great art erupt once more. —Spencer Reece

Quote: Blurb

[...] In thoughtfully parsing Ada's unpublished writings, [Glancy] notices shifts and alterations: "The old words did not fit the new margins." The poems' drumbeat cadence emphasizes certain words and images, creates patterns, and establishes an almost delirious feeling, reflecting Ada's solitude.

Review: Booklist

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