UH Manoa Creative Writing Program Presents Fall Festival of Writing

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, Ph.D.
UH Manoa Department of English
Posted: Nov 15, 2001

The University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa‘s Creative Writing Program presents its fall festival of writing — "Human Writes: A Literary Festival & Symposium." The festival will run Friday to Saturday, November 16-17, and features writers whose work engages the issues of race, ethnicity and culture. The festival will provide an international, intercultural meeting ground for creative dialogue and exchange around the idea of "human writes."

This year‘s participants include Olive Senior, a short story writer and poet from Jamaica and Canada; Mariu Carrera, an Argentinean actress, teacher, author, play director, and director of the Primera Escuela Popular de Teatro; Roma Potiki and Robert Sullivan, poets from Aotearoa/New Zealand; and Putu Oka Sukanta, a writer and healer from Indonesia. Local participants include Lee Cataluna, a dramatist and columnist from Kauaʻi and Oʻahu; Lee Tonouchi, writer and editor of Hybolics; and Chris McKinney, a novelist who teaches in Honolulu.

The festival will begin on Friday, November 16, at 12:30 p.m., with Roma Potiki lecturing on "Out of the Silent River" at the East-West Center, Room 2121. Her multimedia presentation will feature video footage, CD-ROM clips and slides of her dramatic and literary work. Oliver Senior will speak on "The Voice from the Bottom of the Well: Orality and Affirmations" at 2 p.m. at the East-West Center, Room 2121. A book fair will be held at the UH Manoa Art Auditorium at 6:45 p.m., followed by a public reading with Robert Sullivan, Roma Potiki, Putu Oka Sukanta and Chris McKinney at 7:30 p.m.

The festival continues on Saturday, November 17, at 2 p.m., with a solo performance by Mariu Carrera in "Stuck to Life" at The ARTS at Mark‘s Garage, located at Nuuanu and Pauahi streets in downtown Honolulu. The book fair will continue at 6:45 p.m. at the UH Manoa Art Auditorium, followed by a public reading by Olive Senior, Mariu Carrera, Lee Tonouchi and Lee Cataluna at 7:30 p.m.

Co-sponsors of this event include Manoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing, Native Books, ʻAʻA ARTS, Atherton Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities Fund, UH Manoa President‘s Diversity and Equity Initiative, University of Hawaiʻi/East-West Center International Cultural Studies Program, Hawaiʻi Literary Arts Council, Hawaiʻi Review, The ARTS at Mark‘s Garage, and the Hawaiʻi Academy of Performing Arts. The Center for Pacific Islands Studies, the Department of Political Science and the Department of Literatures and Languages of Europe and the Americas at UH Manoa are also sponsors of this event.

For more information, contact Professor Rodney Morales, director of creative writing at UH Manoa, at 956-3051, e-mail rodneym@hawaii.edu, or contact Professor Caroline Sinavaiana Gabbard at 956-3046, e-mail sinavaia@hawaii.edu. Visit the festival website at http://maven.english.hawaii.edu/fall01/index.html.

About the participants:

Olive Senior is the author of eight books, including three collections of short stories and nonfiction works on Caribbean culture. Her book of short stories, Summer Lightning, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1987. Senior was born and raised in Jamaica, where she worked in journalism and publishing. She has spent most of her time abroad and is now based in Toronto, Canada. She currently teaches a Fiction Writing Workshop at Barnard College in New York City, and has been a visiting writer at universities in Canada and the West Indies.

Mariu Carrera will perform "Stuck to Life," a solo performance about the military dictatorship in Argentina from 1976 to 1983, during which she lost part of her family. In 1996, she founded the Primera Escuela Popular De Teatro along with a group of artists, sociologists, anthropologists and teachers of acting. She is currently the theater‘s director.

Roma Potiki is a poet, playwright and commentator on Maori theater. Potiki‘s poems have been widely anthologized and her play, "Going Home," was performed in 1996 in Sydney, Australia. Potiki‘s latest play, "Sanctuary," which just concluded its national New Zealand tour, explores Maori spirituality as experienced through the eyes of a child.

Robert Sullivan, a research librarian from Auckland, New Zealand, is currently the Distinguished Writer at UH Manoa. His poetry and prose come out of his Maori and Irish background. His books include Jazz Waiata (1990), Piki Ake (1993), Maui: Legends of the Outcast: A Graphic Novel (with Chris Slane, 1996) and Star Waka (1999).

Putu Oka Sukanta is the founder of the Indonesian Traditional healing Foundation and is one of Indonesia‘s distinguished authors of poetry, short fiction and novels. Born in Bali in 1939, he was a young poet when Indonesia‘s military government began a campaign to eliminate hundreds of thousands of Indonesians suspected of being communists or communist sympathizers in 1965. Sukanta was swept up in these arrests and spent 10 years as a political prisoner. He is currently a contributing editor of Latitudes, and serves as an expert staff member for the alternative magazine, Nirmala.

Lee Cataluna spent 10 years in local radio and television news before landing her dream job as a columnist for the Honolulu Advertiser. Her first play, Da Mayah, broke box office records for Kumu Kahua Theater in 1998 and the Maui Community Theater in 1999. Cataluna‘s plays Aloha Friday and Ulua: The Musical were produced to popular acclaim by Kumu Kahua. This season, she has three new plays premiering at local theaters.

Lee Tonouchi is co-editor of Hybolics and author of Da Word. Also known as the notorious "Pidgin Guerrilla," he is dedicated to promoting the power of Pidgin as a legitimate language and as literature. Tonouchi‘s stories transcend the level of comic entertainment into a realm of what can only be called literary comedy.

Chris McKinney, author of The Tattoo and The Queen of Tears, has won two Ka Pala Pala Poʻokelo Awards for Excellence in Literature and Excellence in Writing Literature, as well as the Cades Award. He currently teaches at Honolulu Community College and his first novel has been optioned for a film.