man posing for a photo
D. Nandi Odhiambo

University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu Assistant Professor of English D. Nandi Odhiambo and Jean Toyama, a UH Mānoa professor emerita, have been named 2019 recipients of the Elliot Cades Award for Literature, considered among the most prestigious literary honors bestowed in Hawaiʻi.

Odhiambo is the recipient of the established artist award, while Toyama won the emerging artist award.

woman smiling for photo
Jean Toyama

The Cades awards were created in 1988 in memory of Elliot Cades by Charlotte and J. Russell Cades and come with a cash prize for winners. The Hawaiʻi Literary Arts Council administers the awards program as part of its mission to encourage and promote literature and literary activity in the state. Past winners of the established artist award include poet and UH Mānoa Associate Professor of English Craig Santos Perez, author Paul Theroux and Native Hawaiian author Kiana Davenport.

Odhiambo, who was born in Nairobi, Kenya, published his most recent novel, Smells Like Stars, last year. His first novel, diss/ed banded nations, was published in 1998 and followed by Kipligat’s Chance in 2003. The Reverend’s Apprentice was published in 2008. He has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and a PhD in English from UH Mānoa.

Toyama was a UH faculty member for more than 30 years, teaching classes in French language and literature, poetry and the novel. She is the author of several linked poetry and commentary works, What We Must Remember and No Choice But to Follow, with fellow poets Ann Inoshita, Juliet Kono and Christy Passion. She is the author of Prepositions and Kelli’s Hanauma Friends, a book of poems.

Odhiambo and Toyama are scheduled to receive their awards and give readings from their works on Saturday, May 4 at 11 a.m., during the annual Hawaiʻi Book & Music Festival on the Honolulu Municipal Building grounds.

—By Greg Wiles