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UH Manoa and East-West Center Present Sixth Fall Writer's Festival - a Celebration of Oceanic and Caribbean Literature

Highlights of week-long festival include Distinguished Lecture Series events with Witi Ihimaera, New Zealand author of Whale Rider

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Robert Sullivan, (808) 956-3075
Fall Writer's Festival Chair
David Baker, (808) 956-9405
UH Distinguished Lecture Series
Posted: Nov 1, 2004

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of English has joined with the East-West Center‘s "Islands of Globalization" Project to present the Sixth Fall Writer‘s Festival—"Moving Islands," A Celebration of Oceanic and Caribbean Literature. The festival will be held November 8-12, and will feature a number of literary readings, panel discussions and film screenings.

The collaboration will bring together internationally renowned Oceanic and Caribbean writers for a week of exciting world-class literature and innovative discussion of globalization from island perspectives. Free and open to the public, this year‘s Fall Writer‘s Festival will include keynote addresses, literary readings and panel discussions by George Lamming, Albert Wendt, Michelle Cliff, Witi Ihimaera, Nalo Hopkinson, Jully Makini, Rodney Morales and Noenoe Silva.

Also featured during the festival is Witi Ihimaera‘s Distinguished Lecture Series keynote address, "Writing Our Islands Across the Sun‘s Eye." Ihimaera, a best-selling Maori writer, is best known for the adaptation of his novel into the blockbuster movie hit, "Whale Rider." A post-festival screening of the film with an introduction by Ihimaera is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 12, at 6 p.m. at the UH Mānoa School of Architecture Auditorium.

The festival kicks off on Monday, Nov. 8, with the "Islands of Globalization" inaugural keynote address. George Lamming will make a video address on the Caribbean as a historical center of globalization. Albert Wendt and Michelle Cliff will respond with reflections on Oceanic and Caribbean Literatures. Their discussion will be moderated by Honolulu-based Jamaican writer and filmmaker Esther Figueroa.

Other events include literary readings by Wendt, Jully Makini and Rodney Morales. Makini, a thought-provoking poet and activist from the Solomon Islands, will bring a rare Melanesian voice to Hawaiʻi, while Morales is one of Hawaiʻi‘s most beloved local novelists.

A panel discussion, "Moving Islands—Sources of the Imagination," will feature Cliff and Makini along with Nalo Hopkinson and Noenoe Silva. Hopkinson is a rising young star who has revolutionized science fiction by using Caribbean and African folk tales and motifs, and Silva is a Hawaiian scholar whose excellent scholarship has revealed the breadth and depth of 19th-century Hawaiian writing. This panel will be chaired by award-winning Maori writer Robert Sullivan. An event following the panel discussion will bring together Cliff, Hopkinson and Lamming (via video) with Witi Ihimaera for literary readings featuring new works.

The closing session of the festival will feature a seminar with Witi Ihimaera entitled "Remapping the Heart," followed by a screening of the film, "Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree." The film will be presented by Wendt, author of the novel from which the film is adapted.

The Fall Writer‘s Festival is sponsored by the UH Mānoa Department of English, the East-West Center‘s "Islands of Globalization" project, UH Distinguished Lecture Series, UH Mānoa Center for Pacific Islands Studies, UH Diversity and Equity Initiative, UH Endowment for the Humanities, Juniroa Productions, Inc., and the UH Mānoa College of Languages, Linguistics and Literatures. Other support has been provided by Honolulu Weekly, Hawaiʻi Review, ʻAʻa Arts (supported by the NEA), and the UH Mānoa Department of Political Science, Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Student Services, and Women‘s Studies Program.

Following is a detailed schedule of events for the week and bios of the festival participants. For more information, visit To learn more about the "Islands of Globalization" project, visit


Monday, Nov. 8:
Inaugural Islands of Globalization Keynote Address: George Lamming (via video), Albert Wendt and Michelle Cliff

7 p.m.
Keoni Auditorium, East-West Center

Tuesday, Nov. 9:
Reading: Jully Makini, Rodney Morales, Albert Wendt, Steven Winduo

3 to 4:30 p.m.
Kuykendall Auditorium 101

UH Distinguished Lecture Series: Witi Ihimaera
7 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom

Wednesday, Nov. 10:
Book signing with Authors

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
UH Mānoa Bookstore

Panel Presentation: "Sources of the Imagination" — Michelle Cliff, Nalo Hopkinson, Jully Makini and Noenoe Silva
3 to 4:30 p.m.
Kuykendall Auditorium 101

Reading: Michelle Cliff, Nalo Hopkinson, Witi Ihimaera, George Lamming (via video)
7 p.m.
Art Auditorium

Friday, Nov. 12:
Distinguished Lecture Series Seminar: "Remapping the Heart," with Witi Ihimaera

10:30 a.m.
Keoni Auditorium, East-West Center

Islands of Globalization Film Series: "Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree," Pre-talk by Albert Wendt
Venue TBA; Free admission

Screening of "Whale Rider," Pre-talk by Witi Ihimaera
6 p.m.
School of Architecture Auditorium
Admission Fee: $3


Michelle Cliff is a Jamaican-American writer and teacher. Her work includes the short story collections "Bodies of Water" and "The Store of a Million Items"—the latter chosen by the Village Voice as one of the best books of 1998—and the novels "Abeng," "No Telephone to Heaven," and "Free Enterprise." From 1993-1999, she held the Allan K. Smith Professorship of English Language and Literature at Trinity College. She is the recipient of two NEA fellowships and an Artists Foundation of Massachusetts fellowship. She was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chávez, and Rosa Parks Visiting Professorship at the University of Michigan, was twice visiting writer at the Vermont Studio Center, and visiting professor at Johannes Gutenberg Universität in Mainz, Germany. Her most recent work includes the novel "Into the Interior" and the essay collection "Apocalypso," as yet published. Her translations of seven poems by Federico García Lorca are forthcoming in the American Poetry Review.

Nalo Hopkinson, born in Jamaica and past resident of Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana and the United States, now lives and works in Canada. The author of three novels—"Brown Girl in the Ring," "Midnight Robber," and "The Salt Roads"—and a short story collection, "Skin Folk," Hopkinson writes the world-spanning modern myths of magical realism, science fiction and fantasy, frequently drawing on Caribbean folklore, language and culture. She is also editor and co-editor of four anthologies of short fiction by other writers. The recipient of the John W. Campbell Award, the Sunburst Award and the World Fantasy Award, her work has also received Honourable Mention in Cuba‘s Casa de las Americas Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for black writers. She‘s currently working on a new novel set in a non-existent Caribbean archipelago.

Witi Ihimaera, who is guest speaker for the UH Distinguished Lecture Series as well as a participant in the festival, has won many national New Zealand literary awards, including the Montana NZ Book of the Year Award for fiction, which he has won three times and is one of only two New Zealand writers to do so. He also published the first book of short fiction, "Pounamu pounamu," and the first novel by a Maori. He is also the first anthologist of Maori writing with his two significant anthologies "Into the World of Light" and "Te Ao Marama: Contemporary Maori Writing." "Whale Rider," the movie based on his novel "The Whale Rider," has won many prestigious international film awards. His first play, "Woman Far Walking," premiered at the International Festival of the Arts in Wellington in 2000 and was staged in Honolulu in 2001. As well as being a highly successful and prolific author, he is also an accomplished opera librettist. He is the Distinguished Creative Fellow in Maori Literature at the University of Auckland. Ihimaera recently received one of his country's highest honors: Distinguished Companion, Order of New Zealand.

George Lamming of Barbados is a world renowned intellectual, writer, critic and educator. Chosen as the 2004 Distinguished Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, he is currently Visiting Professor in the Africana Department at Brown University. He has held many prestigious academic positions including Scholar-in-Residence at City College of the University of New York from 1998-2000 where he delivered the Langston Hughes Lecture at the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City. Lamming exploded onto the literary scene in 1953 with his first novel "In the Castle of My Skin," which won the Somerset Maugham Award for literature, and was championed by leading writers and intellectuals such as Jean Paul Satre and Richard Wright. "In the Castle of My Skin," a novel about a Caribbean childhood and the realities of colonialism, remains the most widely read of West Indian novels. The author of six novels, he describes himself as a "political novelist" and has been closely involved in the political and cultural events of the Caribbean and Commonwealth over the last 50 years, remaining an astute critic and commentator on political, historical and cultural events.

Jully Makini was born in Gizo in the Western Province, Solomon Islands, and is a graduate of the University of the South Pacific. She began writing seriously in 1980 after attending the first Solomon Islands Women Writers‘ Workshop. She worked for a time with the USP Solomon Islands Centre as an editor, helping to produce the first collection of Solomon Islands women‘s writing, "Mi Mere." Makini has published two collections of poems, under the name Jully Sipolo, "Civilized Girl" and "Praying Parents," and is the editor of "Roviana Custom Stories Book/Na Buka Vivinei Malivi pa Zinama Roviana." Her poetry ranges widely over topics such as the pressures of balancing motherhood and family commitments, the dark side of human relationships and rapidly changing societies, and challenges to peace and environmental sustainability. Since 1995, she has worked with the World Wildlife Fund Solomon Islands in the area of capacity-building.

Rodney Morales is the author of "When the Shark Bites," a novel published by University of Hawaiʻi Press in 2002, and "The Speed of Darkness," a short story collection published in 1988 by Bamboo Ridge Press. He is also the editor of "Hoʻi Hoʻi Hou: A Tribute to George Helm and Kimo Mitchell," for which he received the Lawrence Brown Award. His stories have been published in numerous journals, and anthologized in "Rereading America" and "Growing Up Puerto Rican." He is a two-time Grand Prize winner of the Honolulu magazine fiction contest.

Noenoe Silva was born on Oʻahu and is of Kanaka Maoli descent. She grew up in California and returned to Hawaiʻi in 1985. In 1991, she earned her bachelor‘s degree in Hawaiian language, and immediately began teaching Hawaiian at UH Mānoa. In 1993, she completed a master‘s degree in Library and Information Studies, and earned her doctorate in political science in 1999. Her dissertation re-examined Hawaiian historiography through Hawaiian language sources. She joined the faculty of the political science department in Fall 2001, and continues to teach courses in Hawaiian. Her book, "Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism," was published by Duke University Press in August 2004.

Albert Wendt is the author of six novels, three collections of short stories, four volumes of poetry and a play. "Leaves of the Banyan Tree" won the New Zealand Wattie Book of the Year Award and is considered a classic of Pacific literature. His work has been translated into many languages. Recent books include "Sons for the Return Home" and his newest landmark novel, "The Mango‘s Kiss," which was 18 years in the making. His most recent book of poetry, "The Book of the Black Star," combines words and images in short poems, drawing on Samoan language and myth, on dreams and memories, as well as on the daily life of the poet. His play, "The Songmaker‘s Chair," was a highlight of the first Auckland International Arts Festival.

As well as being the pioneer of Pacific writing, he is a mentor to many writers and has been responsible for anthologizing the literature of the region. Recent honors include New Zealand‘s Senior Pacific Islands Artist‘s Award, Japan‘s Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature, and New Zealand‘s Montana national book award for the anthology he co-edited, "Whetu Moana." Wendt is the Citizens‘ Chair in the Department of English at UH Mānoa.

For more information, visit: