Marie Hara


Marie Hara writes fiction. Her name card reads Writer, Teacher, Editor, the work that continues to support her energies and spirit. Beginning in 1978, she worked as a facilitator for groups who wanted to represent the many voices of the people of our Pacific home region. The Talk Story Conference, Hawai‘i’s first large ethnic literary conference, which promoted new local authors, publishing and pidgin, propelled her into serious writing. She taught the first university level Asian American literature courses in the state. Along with Professor Alice Chai of Women’s Studies and researchers Barbara Kawakami and Rachel Lee, Hara helped to edit and publicize the work as well as to organize the group’s travel to inter-island audiences with a slide show tape called Japanese, Okinawan and Korean Picture Brides, created by Chai and Kawakami. The voice-over narration for the video was Hara’s part, but she was also able to interview elderly picture brides during the tours to plantation towns. In honor of the hundred year anniversary of Japanese immigration to Hawai’i, Hara wrote a short feature film and acted as producer with Agnes Ogawa for Kenji, a film directed and filmed by George Tahara of Cine-Pic Hawai’i Films, the only independent film studio in this state. Her short story collection, BANANAHEART AND OTHER STORIES was published by Bamboo Ridge Press. She received a Cades Award for Literature after that first publication and her work with the Hawaii Literary Arts Council. Other stories and essays have been published by journals such as Zyzzyva, Calyx and the newspaper The Hawai‘i Herald. In INTERSECTING CIRCLES, a collection of literary responses to identity issues, with co-editor Nora Okja Keller, she explored the mixed race voice from a female viewpoint in an anthology of hapa women poets, fictionists and prose writers. She has spoken nationally at universities and Asian American studies meetings, as well as in Japan at Todai University in Tokyo and Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto on the subject of Japanese American literature in Hawai‘i and the contradictions surrounding mixed race characters in that literature.

Areas of Interest

creative writing


BA, MA, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa