Kristiana Kahakauwila


Kristiana Kahakauwila is a hapa writer of kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian), German and Norwegian descent. She earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. Prior to teaching she worked as a magazine editor at Highlights for Children and Wine Spectator. Since then, she has taught at Chaminade University, Western Washington University, and the Low-Residency MFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe. Her first book, This is Paradise: Stories (Hogarth 2013), takes as its heart the people and landscapes of contemporary Hawai'i and was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. She is currently at work on a multigenerational novel set on the island of Maui.


  • This is Paradise: Stories, Hogarth/Penguin Random House, July 2013 (2nd Ed., 2018)
Short Fiction
  • “Bridge Jumping,”Kīpuka: Finding Refuge in Times of Change (Bamboo RidgeJournal of Hawai‘i Literature and Arts), Issue #119
  • “The Tunnel Men,” Red Ink: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities, 19.1, Spring 2017
  • “Hands,” Off the Path: An Anthology of 21st Century American Indian and Indigenous Writers, Missoula: Off the Path Press, 2015
  • “Do I Look Like I’m Joking?” Mission at Tenth Inter-Arts Journal, Vol. 4, Spring 2013
  • “Marked,” Hunger Mountain, Issue #24, Spring 2020
  • “The Divine Divide,” Introduction to Aligned 2, Honolulu: UH Press, 2018
  • “Let Us Be Antibodies,” Kartika Review, Spring 2017
  • “The New Hawaiian Warrior,” GEO International, September 2014

Areas of Interest

creative writing and craft theory, fiction writing, creative nonfiction writing, journalism, travel writing, Oceanic/Pacific literature, literatures of Hawai'i, contemporary Native American literature


  • 2018 Lannan Foundation Writer-in-Residence, Institute of American Indian Arts
  • 2015-16 Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study Fellow
  • 2014 Marjorie Putnam Sinclair Edel 2014 Honoree, University of Hawai`i
  • 2014 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing Shortlist, Stanford University
  • 2013 Jane Tinkham Broughton Fellow in Fiction, Bread Loaf Writers Conference
  • 2013 Barnes & Noble Discover New Writer Award Finalist


  • MFA in Creative Writing, University of Michigan
  • BA in Comparative Literature & Certificate in Creative Writing, Princeton University


Fall Semester 2024
  • ENG-413: Form and Theory of Fiction
  • ENG-625D: Foundatns of Creative Writing

Spring Semester 2024
  • ENG-716B: Techniques in Fiction: Techniques and Debates of the Fourth Wave

Fall Semester 2023
  • ENG-313: Types of Creative Writing
  • ENG-413: Form and Theory of Fiction

Spring Semester 2023
  • ENG-313: Types of Creative Writing
  • ENG-412: Nonfiction Writing

Fall Semester 2022
  • ENG-416: Studies: Creative Writing: You, Me, Us: Point of View in Fiction
  • ENG-625D: Foundations of Creative Writing