Distinguished Writer in Residence — Fall 2015
Emelihter Kihleng is completing her PhD in Va’aomanū Pasifika, Pacific Studies from Victoria University of Wellington in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her dissertation, Menginpehn Lien Pohnpei: a poetic ethnography of urohs (Pohnpeian skirts), is a bilingual and creative exploration of a genealogy of Pohnpeian women’s menginpeh or handiwork from tattooing to cloth production to poetry, another kind of dynamic textual and textured “writing” that responds to urohs, a highly valued textile and distinct form of dress. Emeli has worked as an interim Curator, Pacific Cultures at The National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and taught at the University of Guam and the College of Micronesia-FSM in Pohnpei. Her first collection of poetry, My Urohs, was published by Kahuaomānoa Press in 2008. Her work has also appeared in Tinfish, Xcp: Cross-Cultural Poetics, Boundary 2, Bamboo Ridge, Trout, Honolulu Stories, 4th Floor Literary Journal and in other national and international literary journals and anthologies. The daughter of a white American mother and Pohnpeian father, Emeli was raised in Pohnpei, Guam and Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.
Allison Hedge Coke
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Fall 2014
Allison Adelle HedgeCoke authored books include: Dog Road Woman and Off-Season City Pipe poetry; Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer, a memoir; Blood Run, poetry/a verse-play; and The Year of the Rat, poetry chapbook. Hedge Coke has edited eight additional collections, including: Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas, Effigies, and the soon to be released Effigies II. Current and recent projects include Burn (MadHat Press 2014), Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer – Paperback (Bison Books 2013), Streaming (Coffee House Press, 2015) and the Red Dust film-media-lit-music project (in production). HedgeCoke directs the Literary Sandhill Crane Retreat & Festival and has been awarded fellowships/residencies with Lannan Foundation, Weymouth Center for the Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Hawthornden Castle, MacDowell Colony, Great Plains Center, and her honors include an American Book Award, two endowed chairs, and several literary and arts grants. She is a poet, writer, performer, editor, and activist. She came of age cropping tobacco and working fields, waters, and working in factories.
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Fall 2013
Esther Figueroa, PhD, (Vagabond Media, Juniroa Productions, Inc.) is an independent filmmaker, writer, linguist, educator and curator-producer of art, literature and film events. A native of Jamaica, Figueroa was based in Hawai’i for 25 years and received her Masters in East Asian Languages and Literature from UH. Her publications include the canonical treatise “Sociolinguistic Metatheory” (Pergammon, 1994), the literary anthology “At Home the Green Remains – Caribbean writing in honor of John Figueroa” (Caribbean Quarterly, 2003), “The Reunion” (an excerpt from her novel “Holes in the Heart:”), Bamboo Ridge 91:2008. Her most recent novel “Limbo” was accepted in 2012 for publication by UWI Press, but for legal reasons is now under consideration for publication outside of Jamaica.
With almost thirty years of experience in most aspects of media production, her productions are screened internationally in film festivals, on television, in community fora and are taught in universities. Her films include the award winning feature documentary “Jamaica for Sale” (2009). She is currently in development on “Fly me to the Moon,” a feature documentary on bauxite and aluminum based on Mimi Sheller’s forthcoming “Aluminum Dreams – Lightness, Speed, Modernity” (MIT Press). Figueroa’s work with partner Heather Giugni of Juniroa Productions, Inc. is now happily archived at the Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai‘i.
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Fall 2012
Called “disturbing, edgy and provocative” by Book Magazine, Terese Svoboda’s work is often the surreal poetry of a nightmare yet written with such wit, verve and passion that she can address the direst subject. “She will, of course, compared to Willa Cather — and deservedly so,” wrote Kurt Andersen about her most recent novel, Bohemian Girl. A “fabulous fabulist” according to Publisher’s Weekly, Vogue lauded her first novel, Cannibal, as a female Heart of Darkness. “Astounding!” wrote the New York Post about Black Glasses Like Clark Kent, a memoir about her uncle guarding a stockade in postwar Japan which was named “Best of 2008” by the Japan Times. The author of thirteen books of poetry, prose, and memoir, Svoboda’s work has been selected for the “Writer’s Choice” column in the New York Times Book Review, a SPIN magazine book of the year, and one of the Voice Literary Supplement’s ten best reads, this last for A Drink Called Paradise, a novel that stemmed from her filmwork in the Cook Islands. Her writing has been featured in the New Yorker, New York Times, TLS, the Atlantic, One Story, Slate, Tin House, Bomb, Lit, Columbia, Yale Review and the Paris Review. Her honors include an O. Henry for the short story, a nonfiction Pushcart Prize, a translation National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, a PEN/Columbia Fellowship, two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in poetry and fiction, a New York State Council on the Arts grant, a Jerome Foundation grant in video, the John Golden Award in playwriting, the Bobst Prize in fiction and the Iowa Prize in poetry. Her opera WET premiered at L.A.’s Disney Hall in 2005. A University of British Columbia and Columbia School of the Arts graduate, she has taught at Sarah Lawrence, Davidson, Williams, the College of William and Mary, the Universities of Tampa and Miami, the New School, Fordham, Bennington, St. Petersburg, Russia, Nairobi, Kenya as well as at the University of Hawaii as Distinguished Visiting Professor in 1992. She lives in New York City.
Shawna Yang Ryan
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Spring 2012
Shawna Yang Ryan was born and raised in California. Her experience as a mixed-race Asian American, and her years in her mother’s country of origin, Taiwan—including one year as a Fulbright Scholar—have influenced the major themes of her work: Chinese culture in the context of diaspora, the definition of “foreign,” and the formation of cultural and national identities.
As a graduate student in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Davis, Ryan spent a summer in the Sacramento Delta—in the tiny Chinese immigrant community of Locke—researching her master’s thesis, a novel. First published in 2007 by El Leon Literary Arts under the title Locke 1928, it was re-issued by The Penguin Press as Water Ghosts in 2009. It was a San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller, the 2006 winner of the UC Davis Maurice Prize, a finalist for the 2008 Northern California Book Award, and long-listed for the 2010 Asian American Literary Award. Booklist called Water Ghosts “accomplished and affecting,” while The Boston Globe has declared her “a writer to watch.”
Ryan is also intimately involved in the Taiwanese American community. She served as the Press Secretary for the Taiwanese American Federation of Northern California, and has spoken nationally at community events and student workshops about Taiwanese history and identity formation. In 2010, TaiwaneseAmerican.org named her as one of the Taiwanese American community’s “100 Passionate People.”
Her short fiction has appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Asian American Literary Review, Kartika Review, and The Berkeley Fiction Review.
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Fall 2011
David Maine is the author of The Preservationist (2004), released in the UK as The Flood; Fallen (2005); The Book of Samson (2006), and Monster, 1959 (2008).
All were published in the US by St Martin’s Press. The first three were published in the UK by Canongate, and various editions have appeared in Spain, Italy, Germany, Norway, Holland, Greece, India, Japan, Russia and Israel. Several editions have also been issued in large-print and audio book format. The UK version of The Preservationist, entitled The Flood, was shortlisted for The Guardian First Book Award in 2005. The novel has also been optioned for a film.
David’s fifth novel, entitled An Age of Madness, will be published in 2012 by Red Hen Press.
About Fallen, Janet Maslin of The New York Times said: “this book’s power to rivet the reader approaches the miraculous.” Entertainment Weekly said that “Maine has crafted a work of both high seriousness and wicked laughs,” while the Los Angeles Times Book Review characterizes his writing as being “hilarious and illuminating.” Perhaps the strangest bit of praise comes from the Lexington Herald-Leader, whose reviewer for The Book of Samsonwrote that “I do believe it is possible, even helpful, to believe in God and David Maine at the same time.”
Since 2008, David has taught at the University of Phoenix, Hawai‘i-Pacific University and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
David also writes book and music reviews for various outlets and has written for The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com, NPR.com and PopMatters.com. Since 2004, David has published more than 250 reviews and articles.
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Spring 2011
Chris McKinney, the distinguished visiting writer for spring 2011, published his first novel, The Tattoo, in October 1999. Chris’s other novels include The Queen of Tears (2001/2007) Bolohead Row (2005) and Mililani Mauka (2009).He received the Elliot Cades Award for Literature in 2000, and has been awarded two Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards for Excellence in Literature and Excellence in Writing Literature by the Hawai‘i Book publishers Association. He has taught at Leeward Community College, Hawai‘i Pacific University, Chaminade University, and Honolulu Community College. He currently resides in Mililani, Hawai‘i where he writes fiction and screenplays.
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Fall 2010
Adam began writing in the mid-1970s and majored in English and Art Film History at the University of Sydney. He has also completed a Master’s in Linguistics and a Doctorate in Creative Arts from the Centre for New Writing, University of Technology, Sydney. He was Associate Poetry Editor for HEAT magazine. He has published three major collections in Australia and numerous poems in Australian literary journals. He is considered to be a poet of no particular school or trend, postmodern and lyrical at the same time. His influences range from the English Romantic to the French, American and British avante-garde, especially the New York school of poets. In 1996 his second poetry collection In One House was considered one of the best poetry collections of that year. In 2001, his most recent full-length collection Romeo and Juliet in Subtitles, was shortlisted for the John Bray South Australian Literary Festival Award, and was runner-up for The Age Book of the Year poetry prize. His fourth collection, Eighth Habitation, will be published by Giramondo Press in 2008. His writing shows a deep interest in contemporary cultural issues, especially issues of identity and cultural hybridity. Adam’s work has been translated into French, Swedish, German, Polish, Malay and Mandarin, and is published internationally, most notably in Poetry Magazine.
Citizen’s Chair and Distinguished Writer in Residence — Spring 2010
Ihimaera is a Professor at the University of Auckland where he teaches Creative Writing, New Zealand and Pacific Literature. He became the first Maori novelist when he published Tangi in 1973; that novel won the Wattie/Montana Book of the Year Award in 1974, an award he won again with The Matriarch, 1986 and Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies, 1994. He has published 11 novels thus far and is currently finishing his 12th novel, The Trowenna Sea, which will be published by Penguin in 2009. Ihimaera’s hardworking career as a writer, commentator and mentor for younger writers continues to expand. His output includes 6 collections of short stories, the latest of which is Ask The Posts of the House, 2007. His next collection is Purity of Ice, again to be published by Penguin in 2009. As well, he has had five opera and orchestral works produced for stage, the play Woman Far Walking, 2000, a ballet entitled The Wedding, 2005, two children’s books and has edited over 15 anthologies of Maori art, literature and culture. His novel, The Whale Rider, 1987, was made into an internationally acclaimed movie, Whale Rider, in 2003. His novels The Uncle’s Story, Nights In The Gardens of Spain, The Matriarch and Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies, have all been optioned for feature films and are in various phases of script development; he wrote the screenplay for The Matriarch himself while at the Binger Filmlab, Amsterdam, in 2007 and will soon work with Andrew Adamson on a script based on the life of Te Kooti Te Arikirangi. Another film is being made from his short story “Medicine Woman” (from Ask The Posts of the House) by acclaimed Mexican director Dana Rotberg.
Citizen’s Chair and Distinguished Visiting Writer — 2004 to 2008
Professor Wendt is the author of five novels, three collections of short stories, four volumes of poetry and a play. Leaves of the Banyan Tree won the New Zealand Wattie Book of the Year Award, and is considered a classic of Pacific literature. His work has been translated into many languages. Recent books include Sons for the Return Home and his newest landmark novel The Mango’s Kiss which was eighteen years in the making. His most recent book of poetry, The Book of the Black Star, combines words and images in short poems, drawing on Samoan language and myth, on dreams and memoires, as well as one the daily life of the poet. His play The Songmaker’s Chair was a highlight of the first Auckland International Arts Festival, and at the Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu (March, 2006). As well as being the pioneer of Pacific writing, he is a mentor to many writers, and has been responsible for anthologizing the literature of the region. Recent honours include New Zealand’s Senior Pacific Islands Artist’s Award, and the Companion of the Order of New Zealand for services to literature. In May 2005, Albert Wendt was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Literature by Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The film “A New Oceania: Albert Wendt, Writer” premiered at the Auckland Film Festival in July and was shown at the Hawai‘i Film Festival in October 2005. His play, “The Songmaker’s Chair” was staged in Honolulu by Kumu Kahua Theatre in Spring 200
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Fall 2007
Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl was born in Honolulu and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Antioch University and a Master’s degree in Drama and Theatre from the University of Hawai’i. She worked for eleven years in the field of museum education and is now a free lance writer and consultant. As a playwright, she has had twelve plays produced, several of which have toured to Britain, America, the Pacific and Asia. Her anthology of three plays, Hawai‘i Nei, was published by the University of Hawaii Press. She has also written ten documentary scripts for television and is a producer/writer for the documentary series Biography Hawai’i. She has had several published sort stories and her first mystery novel, The Portrait Murders, is slated for publication by the University of Hawai‘i Press in 2008. Ms. Kneubuhl has also been actively involved in producing many community programs that reflect the unique history and lifestyle of her island home. She was named one of the Extraordinary Women of Hawai’i in 2001 by the Foundation for Hawai‘i Women’s History and the Native Hawaiian Library of ALU LIKE, Inc. In 1994, she was honored with the Hawai‘i Award for Literature, and she received the Elliot Cades Award for Literature in 2006.
R. Zamora Linmark
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Spring 2007
Zack Linmark is the author of the acclaimed 1995 novel Rolling the R’s and a collection of poetry, Prime Time Apparitions (2005). His new novel, Leche, will appear in 2007 with Carroll & Graf. Over the years, his work has appeared in Bamboo Ridge, Zyzzyva, Indiana Review, and the Philippine Free Press; it is also anthologized in Inside Him (2006), Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home in the World (2004), Screaming Monkeys (2003), Asian American Studies: A Reader (2002), Bold Words: A Century of Asian American Writing (2001), Take-Out: Anthology of Queer API Writings (2000), The Best of Honolulu Fiction (2001), The Best Gay American Short Stories 1997, and other collections. Zack Zamora is a UHM graduate, a winner of the National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship in poetry (2001) and a Fulbright Senior Lecturer/Researcher in the Philippines (2005-2006). He has taught creative writing at UC-Santa Cruz and in the Philippines at the De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas.
Anne E. Kennedy
Distinguished Writer in Residence — Fall 2006
From Aotearoa/ New Zealand. She has published five books of fiction and poetry including the novel, A Boy and His Uncle (Picador, 1998) and the poetry sequence, Sing-song (Auckland University Press, 2003). Her newest book is the narrative poem, The Time of the Giants (Auckland University Press). She has also written many short stories. Among several awards, she has won the BNZ/Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award, the Montana New Zealand Award for Poetry, and the Auckland University Literary Fellowship. She has worked as a critic, a script editor and a screenwriter, co-writing the screenplay for Crush with director Alison Maclean and adapting Dorothy Porter’s novel in poetry, Monkey’s Mask, for the screen. Anne is a co-editor of Trout: an online journal of arts and literature from Aotearoa and the Pacific Islands.
W. S. Merwin
W. S. Merwin is a thirty-year Maui resident and environmental activist whose career as a poet and translator spans five decades. In 1952, he was awarded the Yale Younger Poets prize by W. H. Auden. In addition to the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, he has received the Tanning Prize, the Bollingen Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. While on Maui, Merwin has written nine books of poetry and five of prose. His largest work, The Folding Cliffs, is the story of the struggle of Ko‘olau, a victim of Hansen’s disease, to remain with his family on Kaua‘i shortly after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. In 2005, he published an autobiographical book, Summer Doorways; a new volume of poems, Present Company; and Migration.
Patricia Grace, honored in 2005 as a living icon of New Zealand art at the second biennial Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Awards, is widely recognized as a key figure in contemporary world literature and in Maori literature in English. In 1975, Grace published the first collection of short stories by a Maori woman writer. Since then she has written six award-winning novels, Mutuwhenua (1978), Potiki (1986), Cousins (1992), Baby No-Eyes (1999), Dogside Story (2001), and Tu (2004); five more short-story collections, and several children’s books both in English and Maori. Widely anthologized, her fiction has been translated into Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Reissued by Penguin in 2005, Dogside Story won the 2001 $15,000 Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize for fiction, was longlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize in August 2001, and was also shortlisted in the 2002 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Patricia Grace’s latest novel Tu (Penguin Books) won the Deutz Medal for Fiction or Poetry at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2005. Patricia Grace’s new collection of short stories previews in late 2006.
Achy Obejas brings her talents as fiction writer, poet, journalist, and translator to our Department as the 2005 Distinguished Writer in Residence. She is the author of Days of Awe, a novel (Ballantine/Random House) about the tensions between public and private identities set against the backdrop of the Jewish community in Cuba. Her other books include Memory Mambo, a novel, and We Came All the Way From Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?, a collection of short stories (both from Cleis). Her poetry and stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. An award-winning journalist, she worked ten years for the Chicago Tribune writing and reporting about arts and culture. Among literally thousands of stories, she helped cover Pope John Paul II’s historic 1998 visit to Cuba, the arrival of Al-Queda prisoners in Guantanamo, the Versace murder, and the AIDS epidemic. She is the recipient of a Pulitzer for a Tribune team investigation, the Studs Terkel Journalism Prize, several Peter Lisagor journalism honors, two Lambda Literary awards, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry, residencies at Yaddo, Ragdale and the Virginia Center for the Arts, and more honors. She has lectured and read her work in the U.S., Cuba, Mexico, Spain and Australia. Most recently, she was teaching as the Springer Writer-in-Residence in the English department at the University of Chicago.
Nora Okja Keller
Nora Okja Keller, born in Seoul, Korea, lives with her family in Waipahu, Hawai‘i. The author of Comfort Woman and Fox Girl, both out of Viking/Penguin, received the Pushcart Prize in 1995 and the American Book Award in 1998. Her children’s play “When Tiger Smoked His Pipe,” cowritten with her 10-year old daughter, was produced by Honolulu Theater for Youth in the Fall of 2003. In addition to her novels, Keller has co-edited two Bamboo Ridge anthologies: Intersecting Circles: Voices of Hapa Women (1999) and YOBO: Korean Americans Writing in Hawai’‘i (2003). She is currently working on her third novel and a collection of essays.
Joy Harjo, poet, musician, writer and performer has published several books, including She Had Some Horses, In Mad Love and War, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and A Map to the Next World from W.W.Norton, and her recently released How We Became Human and New and Selected Poems, also from W.W.Norton. Her first children’s book is The Good Luck Cat, from Harcourt. She has also co-edited an anthology of native women’s writing: Reinventing the Enemy’s Language, Native Women’s Writing of North America, and Secrets from the Center of the World, a book of poetic prose with photographs by Stephen Strom.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Professor Spivak, Avalon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, is the author of many important books and essays, including In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics, Outside in the Teaching Machine, and A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present. Professor Spivak is also conducting a graduate seminar on Narratives of the Multiple Politics of Culture.
Sia Figiel’s novel Where We Once Belonged won the 1995 Commonwealth Literary Prize for First Book in the Asia-Pacific Region. A second novel, Girls in the Moon Circle, was published by Mana Press in 1996. Originally from Samoa, Figiel has been a writer-in-residence at the University of South Pacific, in Suva, Fiji, and at the East-West Center in Honolulu.
Robert Sullivan has published three books of poetry, Jazz Waiata and Piki Ake! and Star Waka (AUP), as well as a graphic novel, Maui: Legends of the Outcast (Godwit, 1996) illustrated by Chris Slane. He has co-edited, with Reina Whaitiri, a contemporary Maori literature issue of the American journal Manoa and is one of the editors of an anthology of Polynesian poetry provisionally titled Journeys (AUP). He also co-edits the online literary journal Trout. Sullivan’s work is widely anthologised and appears in many New Zealand and overseas literary journals. He has won or been a finalist for several national literary awards, and in 1998 he was the Literary Fellow at the University of Auckland.
Paul Millar teaches in the Department of English, Film, and Theatre at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand/Aotearoa. His publications include the editions Beyond the Palisade by James K. Baxter. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1998; Dweller on the Threshold by Noel Ginn. Wellington: Steele Roberts, 1998; Autumn Testament by James K. Baxter. Auckland. Oxford University Press, 1997; and Cold Spring by James K. Baxter. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1996.