Words@Mānoa Events

Please look out for department emails announcing the locations/zoom links for these events.


Spring 2022:

Feb 8: Toni Jensen

Toni Jensen is the author of Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land (Ballantine 2020) and the story collection From the Hilltop. An NEA Creative Writing Fellowship recipient, Jensen’s essays have appeared in Orion, Catapultand Ecotone. She teaches at the University of Arkansas and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Métis.


March 2 & 4, 3-4 pm HST: Peter Bacho

Peter Bacho is the award-winning author of several books, including the novel Cebu and the short story collection Dark Blue Suit.


March 29 at 12 noon-1pm HST:
Filmmakers Andrew Ahn (Spa Night), Brooke Pepion Swaney (Daughter of a Lost Bird), Christopher Kahunahana (Waikīkī: The Film) and Kimi Takesue (95 and 6 To Go) will talk about how they got their starts in film, little known opportunities in the industry, and the craft of writing, directing, and producing movies. 



April: Creative Writing Fellow, Online Residency: Lawrence Lacambra Ypil

Lawrence Lacambra Ypil is an award-winning poet and essayist whose work explores the intersection of text and image, and the role of material culture in the construction of cultural identity.

In 2020, he was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards and on the longlist for The Believer Book Awards for The Experiment of the Tropics, the winner of the inaugural Gaudy Boy Book Prize.

Lawrence has received MFAs from Washington University in St. Louis and from the Nonfiction Writing Program of the University of Iowa. He teaches creative writing at Yale-NUS College.


April 22 at 12 noon-1pm HST: 
Editors Panel, featuring ku’ualoha ho’omanawanui, Keetje Kuipers, and Erin Stalcup.


Fall 2022:

Joseph Han

Joseph Han is the author of Nuclear Family (Counterpoint Press, 2022), named a most anticipated book of the year by Buzzfeed, LGBTQ Reads, Goodreads, and The Millions. A recipient of a Kundiman fellowship, he was named a Writer to Watch in Spring 2022 by Publishers Weekly. His writing has appeared in Nat.Brut, Catapult, Pleiades Magazine, and Platypus Press Shorts. Currently, he is an Editor for the West region of Joyland Magazine and holds a Ph.D. in English & Creative Writing from the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa.


Tina Makereti 

Tina Makereti writes novels, essays and short stories. The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke is her fourth book. Her short story, ‘Black Milk’, won the Pacific Regional Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2016). Her first novel, Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings (Vintage, 2014) has been described as ‘a remarkable [book that] spans generations of Moriori, Māori and Pākehā descendants as they grapple with a legacy of pacifism, violent domination and cross-cultural dilemmas.’ It was longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award and won the 2014 Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Award for Fiction, also won by her short story collection, Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa (Huia, 2011). In 2009 Tina was the recipient of the Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing (Non-fiction) and the Pikihuia Award for Best Short Story Written in English. Makereti has a PhD Creative Writing from Victoria University, and in 2014 she convened the first Māori & Pasifika Writing Workshop at the International Institute of Modern Letters, where she now convenes one of the Masters workshops. She is completing a collection of personal essays, ‘This Compulsion in Us’, and is of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Rangatahi, Pākehā and, according to family stories, Moriori descent.  


Hala Alyan 

Hala Alyan is the author of the novel Salt Houses, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize, as well as the forthcoming novel The Arsonists’ City, and four award-winning collections of poetry, most recently The Twenty-Ninth Year. Her work has been published by the New Yorker, the Academy of American Poets, Lit Hub, The New York Times Book Review, and Guernica. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, where she works as a clinical psychologist.

Spring 2023

Mary Anne Mohanraj  

Mary Anne Mohanraj is author of A Feast of Serendib, Bodies in Motion, The Stars Change, and twelve other titles. Other recent publications include stories for George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards series, Perennial: A Garden Romance (Tincture), stories at Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, and Lightspeed, and an essay in Roxane Gay’s Unruly Bodies.

Mohanraj founded Hugo-nominated and World Fantasy Award-winning speculative literature magazine Strange Horizons, and serves as Executive Director of both DesiLit (desilit.org) and the Speculative Literature Foundation (speclit.org).  She is Clinical Associate Professor of fiction and literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Elaine Romero 

Elaine Romero has found grist for her plays in an uncharted life.  Elaine saw Disneyland with the King of Zululand when he and his entourage stayed with her family during his honeymoon. She learned Transcendental Meditation from a guru who imparted her mantras from a make-shift altar fashioned from the family toilet. As a grad student in Paris, Elaine found herself with Mother Teresa, handing out ham sandwiches.

In conversation: Maya Motayne and Marcia Douglas

Marcia Douglas

Marcia Douglas is the author of The Marvellous Equations of the Dread: A Novel in Bass Riddim, Notes from a Writer’s Book of Cures and Spells and Madam Fate as well as a poetry collection, Electricity Comes to Cocoa Bottom.  Her awards include a Creative Capital Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a U.K. Poetry Book Society Recommendation. The Marvellous Equations of the Dread was longlisted for the 2016 Republic of Consciousness Prize and the 2017 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.  Her fiction, essays, reviews and interviews have been included in journals such as The New York Review of Books, Bomb Magazine, World Literature Today and in anthologies such as Kingston Noir, Jubilation: 50 Years of Jamaican Poetry Since Independence, Queen’s Case: Jamaican Literature, Home: An Imagined Landscape, Mojo Conjure Stories, Whispers from Under the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction, The Art of Friction, Edexcel Anthology for English Language/London Examinations IGCSE, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse andThe Forward Book of Poetry.


Maya Motayne

Maya Motayne thought of herself as a writer long before she could even read. She spent her elementary school years carrying around a notebook full of what she called her “million dollar ideas”, though it was mostly full of doodles and scribbles.

She pursued degrees in English Language and Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Maryland, College Park. After that, she worked as an editorial assistant at Random House Children’s Books for just under two years before leaving to write full-time.

Though she was born and raised in Maryland, she likes to think that three years in New York makes her an official New Yorker now. She spends her days writing and pursuing her passions of petting as many dogs as possible and buying purses based on whether or not she can fit a big book in them