Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Celebrating Local Literature

I haven't posted in so long I needed to reassure myself that I'm still alive, but I only have a minute before I need to get back to the grindstone.

I'm running a Big Island Celebrate Reading Festival geared toward tweens and up, so once that happens on Friday, I'm all good! This festival is open to the public and it's FREE! All I ask is that the students come having read at least two of the authors on the list (I also give the schools books and my list came out in October). We're having it in the Volcanoes National Park, home of the erupting volcano, Kilauea, constantly erupting for 25 years.
I am bringing in two authors from the mainland: Neal Shusterman (Unwind, The Schwa Was Here) and Terry Trueman (Stuck in Neutral, Cruise Control), but today I wanted to celebrate the lesser known Hawaii writers that will be coming.
Patricia Wood (she's not lesser known, just that she lives in Hawaii): Lottery
From Amazon:  The action centers on how winning a $12-million lottery jackpot complicates the life of 32-year-old Perry L. Crandall, the dedicated employee of a marine supply store in the harbor city of Everett, Wash. With an IQ of 76, Perry emphatically proclaims that he is slow, not retarded! Wood's dichotomy of Perry's impaired cognition does present some challenges for Michael, especially as the unsuspecting protagonist recounts—but does not grasp—the devious conversations among his money-grubbing relatives.

Brandy Nalani McDougall: The Salt Wind: Ka Makani Pa'akai (poems)
From the publishers: This postcolonial collection of poetry is the first by Native Hawaiian poet, Brandy Nalani McDougall. Of the collection, Samoan novelist Albert Wendt writes: "Once in a while a collection of poetry comes along and grabs your eyes, heart, and na'au and makes you see and feel more deeply than you've done in a long, long time. For me, Brandy Nalani McDougall's collection is one of those. And I keep rereading it. Her poems have a unique and hugely inviting surface simplicity and elegance that immediately hook you into them, into their profound and complex depths of imagery, lyricism, political and historical savvy, feeling, thought and vision. These are woven together with unusual wisdom, perception, control of language, and intense aloha for her people and islands. You have to read this collection. It will lift you and make you feel you are more."

Chris McKinney - Tattoo and Mililani Mauka
  This is the story of Ken, a new inmate at Halawa Correctional Center, who in exchange for his tattoo tells his story. This is a violent story of another side of Hawaii.  “The other Hawai’i, the one tourists never get to see.”—Ian MacMillan

   Secretly, a man welds steel to a bulldozer. Later, another watches a ghost walk along his dry-walled hallways. A woman raises her teenage son in a homeless encampment where the boy has to fight to survive with the help of a strange, lonely cop.

In Mililani Mauka, the lives of two families, the Motts and the Krills, come together as they try to keep afloat in a changing Honolulu, a city with growing suburbs and homeless camps. The Motts, new home owners in one of suburban Mililani’s fastest growing enclaves, crave the American Dream while the Krills, now homeless in Wai‘anae, are nearly destroyed by it.

Robert Barclay: Hawaii Smiles and Melal

  These short stories take a light-hearted look at the idiosyncracies of different groups living in Hawaii.

 On Good Friday, 1981, Rujen Keju and his two sons come face to face with their complicated inheritance -- one that includes years of atomic testing and the continued military presence of the U.S. in the Pacific. In this highly original work of history and adventure, novelist Robert Barclay weaves together characters and stories from mythological times with those of the present-day to give readers a rare and unsparing look at life in the contemporary Pacific.

Living on an island, we are often isolated from each other, so the web presence on the ning has helped to start these conversations ahead of time, and on Friday, authors will do readings, then do two breakout sessions with the students. It's an exciting time, but I can't wait until it's over and I can go back to participating in memes and catching up on my reviews.

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