English Department Faculty Candidate Talk: Kristiana Kahakauwila

March 5, 3:00pm - 4:15pm
Mānoa Campus, KUY 410

TITLE: Writing from Two Shores: Composing a Novel of Diaspora and Return

ABSTRACT: In this mo`olelo Kristiana Kahakauwila reads from and discusses her novel-in-progress, To Weave with Water. Centered on the island of Maui, the novel opens in 1903 as the construction of the Ko`olau Ditch extends above the village of Ke`anae. Here, a missionary-educated kanaka maoli woman, a Japanese “tunnel man,” and an heiress to Maui’s plantation empire meet, and from their conflicting desires for love, land, and belonging springs an exploration of race, gender, sexuality, and power. Twenty years later, a young hapa woman raised in Washington State is offered the opportunity to return to the island she’s known only from story. It’s in her journey back to Maui that lies the heart of the novel: a recovery of not just her own familial history but also a reclamation of what’s lost to—and an understanding of what’s been gained by—those born within the diaspora. This talk will weave novel excerpts with a discussion of the research and craft decisions attendant in creating the manuscript.

BIO: Kristiana Kahakauwila is a hapa writer of kanaka maoli, German, and Norwegian descent. Her first book, This is Paradise: Stories (Hogarth, 2013), was an exploration of contemporary Hawai`i and a selection of Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program. Recent fiction and essays have appeared in Red Ink, Kartika Review, Mistake House, and GEO Magazine, among others. Kristiana earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. At present, she is an Associate Professor at Western Washington University and Fiction Faculty in the Low-Res MFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts, as well as a former Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study. She is currently working on a historical novel set on the island of Maui.

Ticket Information
N/A Free & open to the public

Event Sponsor
English, Mānoa Campus

More Information
S. Shankar, (808) 956-3085, engchair@hawaii.edu

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