From the Backstage of Publishing: Memories of Milton Murayama

headshot of Milton MurayamaOriginally this post was a way to mark this month’s Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month by sharing personal memories from an editorial perspective of a pioneering Asian American literary icon, Milton Murayama. It has grown to include other remembrances from a marketing perspective. We are all proud to be the publisher of his bestselling novels.

Masako Ikeda, Acquisitons:

I only met Milton Murayama once, at the Asian American studies conference held in Honolulu in 1991. I tagged along with Sharon Yamamoto, who acquired his manuscripts for Five Years on a Rock and then Plantation Boy. Nothing at that meeting was particularly memorable as I sort of stood in the background, but I ended up enjoying serving as his managing editor for those two books. We wrote letters back and forth and continued to do so even as the century changed. Most of the time all he said in his letters was that he wanted to buy copies of his books or he was writing a new book, which wouldn’t be finished for a while.

After Five Years our production department held onto an old computer drive knowing that Milton had not updated his system and refused to do so. Our marketing staff coaxed him a number of times: “Milton, I’ll help you set it all up.” He kept sending me hard copy manuscripts with perforations on both ends along with five-inch floppy disks. The manuscript wasn’t complete so he wanted everything back, including the floppy disks, which he couldn’t find anymore. Right before he sent the 4 books by Murayama, standing upright on deskvery final manuscript, which eventually became Dying in a Strange Land, we had gotten rid of the drive, and there was no way to read his WordPerfect files. I ended up asking our Production staffer to keystroke everything, which she did in three days.

Communication with Milton was always interesting and often a little strange. He’d call to complain about the copy editor who didn’t understand that “Pidgin English doesn’t have ellipses points, or letter spaces in between.” He would also hesitate to say “Okay bye” and hang up the phone, so our conversation would go on for a long time with several seconds of dead silence breaking our talks in the most uncomfortable way.

Milton passed away in July 2016, and I didn’t know it until a month later when we saw the obituary in the Sunday paper. I felt guilty for not staying in touch. I do think of him quite often just as I think about Sharon, his true editor, whose passing was almost fourteen years earlier.

Steven Hirashima, Marketing:

My fondest memories of Milton would be visiting his fudge brown three-story home in the hillside area of Glen Park of San Francisco. Whenever I was in town I would always make a point to book a visit. The ritual was always the same. I would call to say I’m leaving the hotel and heading for the Union Square BART Station. Once at Glen Park, I would call to say I arrived and no more than five minutes later Milton would arrive in his old Toyota and we would head up the steep and winding road to his “retreat in the hills.”

5 people, including Murayama and wife Dawn, wearing lei.
L to R: Steven Hirashima, Marie Hara, Milton Murayama, Dawn Murayama, Carol Abe after the “Revisiting Murayama” presentation, November 2008.

Overlooking the flatlands of the city with Candlestick Park and SFO to the west, I would always be given a tour as to what was updated or repurposed around the house since my last visit (the actor Lou Diamond Phillips’s childhood family had been a previous neighbor), from a newly reapportioned sunroom downstairs to a section outside with a bed of spring flowers to Milton’s designated writing room where tucked in a corner would be his antique word processor (a Commodore 64), which I almost convinced him to ditch in favor of a newfangled Mac but he never wavered and remained forever faithful to his trusty machine.

Any trip to the Murayamas would invariably end in the kitchen where Milton and Dawn were the most gracious of hosts. We would often gather around the large formal dinner table for spirited conversation from his next book project or his time in the 442nd, feasting on a bowl of delicious Alaskan King crab legs and steamed garlic brussels sprouts, masterfully prepared by Milton only minutes before. Looking back, they were wonderful and precious times. How I long for another afternoon with Milton. Until then, God Speed and Aloha.

Carol Abe, Marketing:

My very first encounter with Milton was in 1975, the year his original edition of All I Asking for Is My Body published, the green one with the bamboo forest on the cover and an overly large “$3” printed on the back All 5 of Murayama's books, surrounded by clippings and letterscover. He and wife Dawn lined up signings at Honolulu Book Shops, at which I was a bookstore clerk (we weren’t called “booksellers” until twenty years later). Of course I bought a copy with my generous employee discount and had it signed, but didn’t otherwise have a personal connection to him. Jump to 2008: I’d been at UH Press for ten years and we released Milton’s fourth and final volume novel in his tetralogy about the Oyama family. Steve Hirashima had switched to managing our Asian studies list and I did the same for our Hawai‘i, Pacific, and Asian American titles.

Dying in a Strange Land had a pub date of June but Milton called and said he would wait to visit in the fall, when it’d be cooler, and he only wanted to do low-key promotion of a few bookstore signings. Then, as now, the Press had no travel funds to support a book tour anyway. He finally decided November would be a good time to come and would do Maui and O‘ahu signings, but no readings or talks. So I booked a combination of Barnes & Noble and Borders stores that followed his wishes and filled his itinerary. We corresponded by snail mail and exchanged letters. In one of these, Milton revealed some of the real-life equivalents to the characters in his books. He wrote, “There’s more fact than fiction in my stories.”

After a fan of his scolded me for not paying for his travel and doing him justice, a series of serendipitous things happened that culminated in an event more befitting of a literary icon, “Revisiting Murayama: From Plantation to Diaspora.” Gary Pak, as it happened, had videotaped an interview with Milton that he still needed to screen; the amazing Marie Hara agreed to be co-organizer and was a conduit to both UHM English department and Bamboo Ridge; Craig Howes put me in touch with Phyllis 3 books opened to page showing author signed the bookLook, who had directed a play of All I Asking. The program developed further by recruiting Arnold Hiura, Lee Cataluna, and one of our student employees, Tricia Tolentino, all tied together with Steve as emcee. (And, by rolling the dice, we obtained funding from SEED and Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, including an honorarium for Milton.)

During their visit, I had chauffeured Milton and Dawn to four or five appearances, perhaps being a bit manic in my driving. At the end, I asked Milton to sign my copy of Dying in a Strange Land. We all laughed warmly as I read his inscription: “It’s been fun getting to know you. I love smart flaky women, who’re also good drivers.” It was my honor and pleasure to have been a tiny part of his life.

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Each of Milton’s novels can be read separately and not in sequence. Dying in a Strange Land is on sale now, at a very special price—click here to order.

2019 Hawaii Book & Music Festival: UH Press Tent and Author Events

color map of festival layout; UH Press location is circled.The 14th annual Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival happens this weekend, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and UH Press will once again be there! Come to our tent alongside Honolulu Hale, near the Kristi Yamaguchi Keiki Reading Corner, and be among the first to see our newest titles. Also attend several presentations by UHP authors and follow them to our booth for short booksignings before you head off to the next session. Check out the interactive festival schedule here.

Featured UHP titles and presenters:

SATURDAY
📚 Heiau, ‘Āina, Lani: The Hawaiian Temple System in Ancient Kahikinui and Kaupō, Maui will be discussed by coauthors Patrick Vinton Kirch and Clive Ruggles on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Although the book is still at the printer, a set of page proofs will be available to browse and preorder at the event discount. Following their talk, 11:15–11:45, Dr. Kirch will sign copies of two of his most recent titles at our tent: Kua‘āina Kahiko: Life and Land in Ancient Kahikinui, Maui and Unearthing the Polynesian Past: Explorations and Adventures of an Island Archaeologist.
📚 Indigenous Literatures from Micronesia, edited by Evelyn Flores and Emelihter Kihleng, is the inaugural title in The New Oceania Literary Series. On Saturday at 1:00 p.m., series editor Craig Santos Perez moderates a session with several volume contributors—Mary Hattori, Josie Howard, Kisha Borja-Quichocho-Calvo, Angela Hoppe-Cruz, and James Viernes. They’ll head over to our tent to sign copies, 2:15–2:45 p.m.
📚  Palapala: A Journal for Hawaiian Language and Literature has just released its second volume as open-access on ScholarSpace, an online institutional repository for University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Journal editor Jeffrey (Kapali) Lyon speaks on a panel at 2:00 p.m. We will have a few copies of the print edition of volume one at our booth and volume two will be available in print later.
📚  Kahu: Portraits of Native Hawaiian Pastors at Home and Abroad, 1820–1900, by Nancy J. Morris and Robert Benedetto, will be presented on Saturday, 4:00 p.m., by Dr. Morris, Craig Howes, Aaron Mahi, and Kenneth Makuakane. A signing by Dr. Morris is scheduled for Sunday, 2:00–2:30 p.m.festival grounds on sunny day, shows people sitting and tents in background

SUNDAY
📚 Nā Inoa Hoku: Hawaiian and Pacific Star Names opens Sunday’s program at 10 a.m. with Clive Ruggles and coauthor John Kaipo Mahelona (coauthor Rubellite Kawena Johnson is unable to attend). They will sign at the UHP tent immediately following their talk.
📚  Tadaima! I Am Home: A Transnational Family History will have a panel at 11:00, with author Tom Coffman, Larry Miwa, and Stephen Miwa; the latter two are members of the family whose story is told in the book. The three will sign at our booth from 12:15–12:45 p.m. on Sunday. (The background image on the book’s cover is a page from Larry Fumio Miwa’s diary kept as a fourteen-year-old at the time of the Hiroshima bombing—view the page here.)
📚  Hawai‘i’s White Tern: Manu-o-Kū, an Urban Seabird is the basis of Susan Scott‘s illustrated talk, “The Wings of Honolulu’s Wild Side.” Hear her speak at noon and then head to our booth for a signing at 1:15.
📚  A Power in the World: The Hawaiian Kingdom in Oceania, by Lorenz Gonschor will publish in June, however, we’ll have an early proofing copy on display and will take preorders. Dr. Gonschor is a presenter on three Sunday panels, including one focused on his book at 2:00 p.m. Joining him as a discussant is Tiffany Lani Ing, whose forthcoming book, Reclaiming Kalākaua: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives on a Hawaiian Sovereign, will be published in October by UH Press. 
📚 Nā Wāhine Koa: Hawaiian Women for Sovereignty and Demilitarization, by Moanike‘ala Akaka, Maxine Kahaulelio, Terrilee Keko‘olani-Raymond, and Loretta Ritte is one of the books explored in the 3:00 afternoon session at the Humanities Pavilion, sponsored by Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities. The book’s editor Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘opua joins the panel moderated by HCH’s new executive director (and UHP author) Aiko Yamashiro. Dr. Goodyear-Ka‘opua signs copies at 4:15 p.m.author Susan Scott on stage and back of people in audience

Other spring releases premiering at our booth:
📚 Wind, Wings, and Waves: A Hawai‘i Nature Guide, by Rick Soehren;
📚 The Past before Us: Moʻokūʻauhau as Methodology, edited by Nālani Wilson-Hokowhitu;
📚 Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine: The Food Movement That Changed the Way Hawai‘i Eats, by Samuel Hideo Yamashita.

A limited number of copies of these and many more will be available and we’ll be taking orders for books not on hand, with free US shipping.

Stay updated with the latest news on the festival Twitter feed and check its Facebook posts. See you there!

Samuel Hideo Yamashita on the “Japanese Turn” and Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Five people after library talk, including Samuel Yamashita and Roy Yamaguchi, with librarians
(L to R) Tokiko Bazzell, Monica Ghosh, Mire Koikari, Samuel Yamashita, Roy Yamaguchi

Pomona College history professor Samuel Yamashita‘s lecture on what he calls the “Japanese Turn” in fine dining drew a full house to University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Hamilton Library last week (April 17). Audience members included well-known chef Roy Yamaguchi, who was part of this “turn” during his years in Los Angeles when he pioneered Euro-Asian cuisine. As a tie-in, advance copies and flyers were displayed of Professor Yamashita’s cover of book, Hawaii Regional Cuisinenew UH Press book, HAWAI‘I REGIONAL CUISINE: The Food Movement That Changed the Way Hawai‘i Eats. His talk was related to the library’s exhibit by Japan collection librarian Tokiko Bazzell, “Washoku: Japanese Foods & Flavors,” Yamashita next to Washoku displaywhich is on display until May 27 in Hamilton Library’s First Floor Elevator Gallery.

Read the wonderfully comprehensive information and view more photos on the event here. Yamashita will be returning to Honolulu in mid-July to launch Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine; meanwhile, order the book here. If you would like to be notified of the July events, contact Carol Abe in the UH Press marketing department. Mahalo to the UH Libraries and other sponsors for hosting Professor Yamashita during his UH Mānoa visit: UHM Center for Japanese Studies, UHM Department of American Studies, UHM Department of Women’s Studies, Kapi‘olani Community College, and UHM Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED).

2017 Hawaii Book & Music Festival: UH Press Tent & Author Events

University of Hawai‘i Press will be among the local publishers, organizations, booksellers, and other vendors exhibiting at the 12th annual Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival taking place next weekend, May 6 and 7, at the Frank F. Fasi Civic Grounds next to Honolulu Hale. Admission and parking are free. Go to the festival website to download detailed daily schedules and a PDF of the map, as well as links to the latest news on its Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Attend the presentations by these UH Press authors and follow them to our booth, located alongside Honolulu Hale, for informal signings (times given are for the talks, so signings are about an hour later):
SATURDAY, MAY 6
SUNDAY, MAY 7
Rodney Morales, For a Song (1:00 pm).
Kapali Lyon will moderate a panel on PALAPALA: A Journal for Hawaiian Language and Literature = Palapala: he puke pai no ka ʻōlelo me ka moʻolelo Hawaiʻi (1:00 pm). No signing is possible but come by for information on this open-access journal.
Dr. Billy Bergin, The Hawaiian Horse (2:00 pm).
Winona K. Mesiona Lee and Mele A. Look, the editors of Ho‘i Hou Ka Mauli Ola: Pathways to Native Hawaiian Health, the latest in the Hawai‘inuiākea  series (3:00 pm).
Lillian Howan, The Charm Buyers (4:00 pm). Due to the late hour, buy the book ahead of time to sign at her talk and/or come to her reading on Saturday, May 13, 2:00 to 4:00 pm at Aupuni Place in Ward Warehouse.

 

At our tent we’ll have event discounts on the above titles and many others, and will offer free shipping on orders taken onsite. Slightly damaged (“hurt”) stock and a few titles in new condition will have special bargain prices.

We look forward to seeing everyone at this outside celebration of story and song!

March–April 2017 UHP Author Events

When it comes to listing events, we can’t miss first mentioning our exhibit booth at the Association for Asian Studies annual conference taking place March 16–19 in Toronto. Acquisitions editors Pamela Kelley and Stephanie Chun, and marketing managers Royden Muranaka and Steven Hirashima make up our staffing contingent at this important meeting, which is attended by numerous UHP authors (and prospective authors) of Asian studies titles.

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Below is the current lineup of author appearances scheduled for the coming weeks—including a couple already past—mostly for our Hawai‘i-related titles. Unless otherwise noted, these events are free and the public is invited to attend; books will be available for sale and signing.

Wednesday, March 15, 3:30 to 5:30 pm, at the Faculty Center, Chaminade University, 201 Eiben Hall
Chapter contributors Jonathan Dial, Bianca Isaki, and Brian Richardson will speak on the issues addressed in Tourism Impacts West Maui, the latest book from North Beach-West Maui Benefit Fund Inc., distributed by UH Press.

Wednesday, March 15, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, at Waianae Public Library (85-625 Farrington Hwy)
Former investigative reporter Jim Dooley will give an illustrated talk about the lively behind-the-headlines stories in his book, Sunny Skies, Shady Characters. See more details on the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System site.

Thursday, March 16, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, Volcano Art Center, Volcano Village,  Island of Hawai‘i
Hawai‘i’s Kōlea coauthors Oscar “Wally” Johnson and Susan Scott will give a slideshow presentation on the amazing migratory bird at the Volcano Art Center Niaulani campus. While the event is free, a $5 donation would be appreciated. See more details on the VAC website. Wally leaves the next day to return to Montana, while Susan will stay on to do a signing on Saturday at Basically Books, before heading home to O‘ahu.

Saturday, March 18, 1:00 to 2:00 pm, Basically Books, Hilo
Susan Scott will sign copies of Hawai‘i’s Kōlea: The Amazing Transpacific Life of the Pacific Golden-Plover, as well as her sailing memoir, Call Me Captain. For future events with Susan, check out her website.

Thursday, March 23, 2017, 7:00 pm, Ciné in Athens, Georgia (234 W Hancock Avenue)
UH Mānoa creative writing professor Rodney Morales heads to the Deep South to do a reading of his latest novel, For A Song. His visit is hosted by the University of Georgia Creative Writing Program and books will be sold by Avid Bookshop.

Saturday, March 25, three separate events in Kamuela and Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai‘i
Dr. Billy Bergin and his son Dr. Brady Bergin, both respected equine veterinarians, will do a marathon book launch and signings for their new book, The Hawaiian Horse. The schedule and locations include:

• 9:00 am to 12 noon, Parker Ranch Store, 67-1185 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kamuela (phone 808-885-5669).
• 1:00 to 2:45 pm, Basically Books, 160 Kamehameha Avenue, Hilo (phone 808-961-0144). Includes a short talk.
• 3:00 to 4:30 pm, Lyman Museum, 276 Haili Street, Hilo (phone 808-935-5021). The authors will do a talk as part of the museum’s Patricia E. Saigo series of public programs. The cost is free for museum members and $3.00 for nonmembers. Read more on the event here.
Wednesday, March 29, 10 to noon, at the Waimea Midweek Farmers Market , Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables, Parker Ranch, 67-139 Pukalani Road, Kamuela (phone 808-854-1541).
Drs. Bergin will be available to sign books at this outdoor market hosted by the Paniolo Preservation Society.

Saturday, April 1, starting at 2:00 pm, Hawaii Japanese Center, Hilo (751 Kanoelehua Avenue)
Hawaii Japanese Center,
in partnership with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, presents a program based around author Barbara Kawakami and her recent book, Picture Bride Stories, which was recently announced as the winner of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians (APALA) Literature Award for adult nonfiction (the award will be presented in June) . The HJC program will include a dance performance of holehole bushi and a screening of excerpts from the Rice & Roses television series that previously aired on PBS Hawai‘i. See complete details on the HJC flyer.

Ms. Kawakami has scheduled additional presentations on Picture Bride Stories, including one on Thursday, April 13, 12:00 to 1:45 pm, at Kaua‘i Community College’s International Education Center (Office of Continuing Education and Training Bldg., Room 106 C/D). On Saturday, April 29, she will be at Temari‘s annual “BOLTS of Fabric & Fun” sale to participate in the 11:00 am Textile Talk Stories with Ann Asakura, and will sign books before and after her presentation. The BOLTS event is being held at Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (which has its own Things Japanese annual sale the same day).

Thursday, April 13, 12 noon to 1:15 pm, Kuykendall Hall 410, UH Mānoa
At this Brown Bag series sponsored by the Center for Biographical Research, David Hanlon‘s talk, “‘You Did What, Mr. President?!?!’ Writing a Biography of the Federated States of Micronesia’s Tosiwa Nakayama” explores his work behind Making Micronesia.

Saturday, April 22, 12 noon to 4:oo pm, Santa Rosa City Hall (100 Santa Rosa Avenue)
Copperfield’s Books will have a booth with a mini stage for its “Women Writers Talk Environment” event at the Earth Day festival in Santa Rosa. The Charm Buyers author Lillian Howan will join Rebecca Lawton, Farnaz Fatemi, and others to read, discuss, and sign books. For insight into Lillian’s writing, read the Writer in Residence interview with her on Rebecca Lawton’s blog.
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As always, to keep up with UHP author talks and other event news, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 2017 UH Press Author Events

Several author appearances are scheduled for the coming months; here are the remaining ones lined up for February. These events are free and the public is invited to attend. Books will be available for sale and signing, unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, February 18, 3:00 to 5:00 pm, Eastwind Books of Berkeley (2066 University Avenue)
howan-charmbuyers72dpiAt this venerable independent bookshop, Lillian Howan will discuss and read from her debut novel, The Charm Buyers. Set in 1990s Tahiti during the last years of French nuclear testing in the Pacific, the book has been praised by early reviewers as “gorgeous,” “sensuous,” and “hynoptic” (see the blurbs under the “reviews” tab on the UH Press web page). A review scheduled to appear in the March/April issue of Foreword Reviews says, in part: “Howan’s language is breathtaking, building a land and family with detail and power. . . . The Charm Buyers is a thought-provoking insight into a time of cultural change. It captures an essence of existing between reality and surreality, dreaming and wakefulness, the past and the future.”

For event information, go to the Eastwind Books website or Facebook page.
Howan also did a reading on February 15 at the University of San Francisco. See the flyer here.

Saturday, February 18, 11:00 am, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i
furuya-internment_100dpiFifty years ago, Suikei Furuya chronicled his World War II imprisonment and published his memoirs in Japan. It took JCCH Resource Center volunteer Tatsumi Hayashi ten years to translate the book into English and now An Internment Odyssey: Haisho Tenten has been published by JCCH, with additional distribution by UH Press. The book launch will include a panel discussion with Tatsumi Hayashi, Sheila Chun, Brian Niiya and a member of the Furuya family. For further details, see the JCCH website.

Thursday, February 23, 12 noon to 1:15 pm, Kuykendall Hall 410, UH Mānoa

tsai-peoplesrace_100dpiAt this Brown Bag talk sponsored by the Center for Biographical Research, Michael Tsai, author of The People’s Race Inc.: Behind the Scenes at the Honolulu Marathon, discusses his melding of journalistic and life-writing approaches as well as the expected and unexpected challenges of dealing with living subjects. Tsai is a Kapi‘olani Community College instructor and Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist and reporter.

For the Spring 2017 Brown Bag schedule of speakers, click here.

Saturday, February 25, 2:15 to 3:30 pm, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

baird-dolphinswhales_100dpiAt Whales Tales 2017, presented by Whale Trust Maui, marine biologist Robin Baird speaks about his ocean fieldwork with Cascadia Research Collective and the results covered in his book, The Lives of Hawai‘i’s Dolphins and Whales: Natural History and Conservation. These include findings from years of research using satellite tagging, genetics, and photo identification to study resident whales and dolphins in Hawai‘i. Dr. Baird’s February 14 illustrated talk at the Waikiki Aquarium elicited numerous questions from the audience, leading to answers with more fascinating facts on these ocean mammals.


To keep up with UHP author talks and other event news, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

“Did Thai king help stifle democracy?”

UHP Author Serhat Ünaldi addresses the passing of Thailand’s king:

“After the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand is preparing for Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to succeed him on the throne. The king’s declining health seemed to coincide with the beginning of a decade-long political crisis, writes Serhat Uenaldi, and in the end Thai democracy died long before the king.” [source: BBC.com/newsRead more here.

9780824855727

Working towards the Monarchy:
The Politics of Space in Downtown Bangkok
May 2016 | 344 pages
Cloth | $62.00

October 2016 UH Press Author Events

Several University of Hawai‘i Press authors will be presenting their works this month and next. These events are free and the public is invited to attend. Books will be available for sale and signing, unless otherwise noted.

brownenglishdept-flyerTuesday, October 4, 3:00 to 4:30 pm, Kuykendall Hall 410, UH Mānoa
Assistant professor of religion Marie Alohalani Brown discusses life-writing and her recent book, Facing the Spears of Change: The Life and Legacy of John Papa ‘Ī‘ī. Her talk is part of the UHM English Department Colloquium series.

Thursday, October 6, noon to 1:15 pm, Henke Hall 325, UH Mānoamorales-forasong_100dpi
At this Center for Biographical Research brown bag talk, Rodney Morales  addresses the role that research plays in his fiction, particularly his new novel, For a Song. In fabricating stories that ring true, he not only focuses on documentable events, actual persons, and observable landscapes, as histories and biographies do, but also finds ways to breathe life into them. (See the fall semester Brown Bag Biography schedule here.)

hasinger-astro_basicallybksFriday, October 7, 6:00 to 7:00 pm, Basically Books, Hilo
For this First Friday event in downtown Hilo, UHM Institute for Astronomy director Günther Hasinger expands our understanding of space and time and looks at recent advances in astrophysics, as covered in his book, Astronomy’s Limitless Journey: A Guide to Understanding the Universe.

Wednesday, October 12, 6:30 to 7:30 pm, Kapolei Public Library
baird-dolphinswhales_100dpiMarine biologist Robin W. Baird of Cascadia Research Collective (Olympia, Washington) discusses results from his soon-to-be-published The Lives of Hawai‘i’s Dolphins and Whales: Natural History and Conservation, which includes findings from years of research using satellite tagging, genetics, and photo identification to study resident whales and dolphins in Hawai‘i. (Note: Books will not be available for sale.)

Thursday, October 13, 7:30 to 8:30 pm, Kapi‘olani Community College Hale ‘Ōhi‘a (cafeteria)
Hawaiian Historical Society hosts Marie Alohalani Brown as their program’s featured speaker to present her biography of John brown-facingthespears_100dpiPapa ‘Ī‘ī, Facing the Spears of Change. Doors open at 7 pm for light refreshments and the talk follows at 7:30.

Saturday, October 22, 9:00 to 11:00 am, Wahiawa Botanical Garden KawakamiCOVER12b.indd
The Wahiawa Historical Society honors former longtime resident Barbara Kawakami on the publication of Picture Bride Stories.

Wednesday, October 26, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, 417 S. King Street
Dr. Marie Alohalani Brown again shares her work and insight on Hawaiian statesman John Papa ‘Ī‘ī; this time to a downtown Honolulu audience. See more details and register on Eventbrite.

Events to come in November include Rodney Morales at Native Books/Nā Mea Hawai‘i on November 5, 2:30 to 4 pm, and discussions with editors Aya Kimura and Krisnawati Suryanata, along with chapter contributors, to highlight Food and Power in Hawai‘i. A book launch for Food and Power in Hawai‘i is scheduled for November 4, 2:30 to 4:00 pm at UHM Saunders Hall 443. Check our Facebook page for updates.

2016 Hawaii Book & Music Festival: UH Press Tent & Author Events

University of Hawai‘i Press will once again be among the publishers, booksellers, and nonprofits exhibiting at the 11th annual Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival this weekend, April 30-May 1, on the Frank F. Fasi Civic Grounds between Honolulu Hale and the City Municipal Building. Admission and parking are FREE. Go to the festival website to download a detailed schedule of events and PDF of the program.

Come by the UH Press tent, located on the ‘ewa-mauka side of the grounds, alongside Honolulu Hale (left side of the map). This year we are cosponsors with the Institute for Astronomy for their neighboring booth as well as presentations by IfA director Günther Hasinger for Astronomy’s Limitless Journey and by Roy Gal for Michael West’s A Sky Wonderful with Stars. Also new this year is the O‘ahu Nursery Growers Association plant sale, so several of our gardening books have been added to our display. As always, we’ll have our latest Hawai‘i titles available at a discount and will offer free US shipping on orders taken onsite.

Other UH Press authors participating this year include: Patrick Kirch (Unearthing the Polynesian Past), Kathleen Kawelu (Kuleana and Commitment), Marie Alohalani Brown (Facing the Spears of Change), Victoria Kneubuhl (Murder Frames the Scene), Kimo Armitage (The Healers), James Dooley (Sunny Skies, Shady Characters), Adrienne Kaeppler and Christina Hellmich (Royal Hawaiian Featherwork), Kapa Oliveira and Kahunawai Wright (Kanaka ‘Oiwi Methodologies), George and Willa Tanabe (Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i), and more.

Authors will stop by the UHP booth throughout both days following their presentations for signings, so please visit us often!

In the Footsteps of Frank Chin on Maui

McMillin_CONOS&magMany of the characters and locations featured in Frank Chin‘s The Confessions of a Number One Son are based on the author’s experiences living on Maui over four decades ago. In 1969, Chin taught at San Francisco State, but decided to take a break from teaching and move to the island, where he worked as a carpenter with some old friends from Berkeley. Over time, Chin grew anxious to return to the mainland, but found that he couldn’t afford a plane ticket home.

As fate would have it, he learned of a playwriting contest sponsored by the East West Players, a showcase theater for Asian American actors in Los Angeles. The top prize was a thousand dollars. Over the course of several weeks, Chin wrote and submitted a play, and eventually found himself sharing the award with Momoko Iko—thereby earning half of the prize money, which was more than enough to buy a plane ticket back to California. That prize-winning play was The Chickencoop Chinaman and the rest, as they say, is history.

McMillin_IaoNeedleThis August, forty-five years after Chin left Maui, editor Calvin McMillin decided to travel to the island to investigate the writer’s old haunts, especially those featured in the novel. He visited Wailuku, located at the mouth of ‘Iao Valley and near the landmarks of ‘Iao Needle and ‘Iao Stream (historically known as Wailuku stream). As Calvin reported after his trip, seeing the lush and beautiful natural environment in person added a new understanding of the novel’s Hawaiian backdrop.

McMillin_IaoTheaterAfter visiting the historic Iao Theater, Calvin followed in Frank Chin’s footsteps (and more recently, those of Anthony Bourdain) by eating at Tasty Crust, an old-fashioned local diner in Wailuku, and concluded that the startling similarities between Tasty Crust’s breakfast menu and the main character’s diet in The Confessions of a Number One Son was unlikely to be just a coincidence.

“I ate in restaurants. Spam and eggs, canned Vienna sausage and eggs, canned corned beef hash and Portuguese linguica and eggs, and canned ham and eggs out of a typical greasy spoon for breakfast. The mass eats of the white missionary culture and U.S. military now a part of island culture. The wonders of canned processed meat—a part of life every morning—sealed up hunger with grease.” (page 43)McMillin_TastyCrustdiner

Calvin also visited many of the beach locations featured in the novel and drove to Lahaina’s Wo Hing Museum, which offers information about Chinese immigration to Maui in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

To see more of Calvin McMillin’s trip to Maui, visit the official Facebook page for The Confessions of a Number One Son. You can also follow him on Twitter @roninonempty.

James Dooley’s Sunny Skies, Shady Characters Triggers Memories and Discussion

NEW RELEASE | AUTHOR EVENTS (see updates below)


DooleyCOVERC.inddSunny Skies, Shady Characters: Cops, Killers, and Corruption in the Aloha State
by James Dooley

A Latitude 20 Book | August 2015 | 248 pages | 20 b&w illlus.
Paper | ISBN 978-0-8248-5164-4 | $18.99
(Also available as an ebook/Kindle)

“Sunny Skies, Shady Characters by James Dooley—Hawaii’s bravest investigative reporter—recounts the secret history of Hawaii that all of us have been waiting for: a book of shocking revelations, featuring a cast of thieves, heavies, enforcers, and yakuza thugs and sneaks who have so intimidated the islands that the truth of their villainy has been suppressed—until now. At last, we know where the bodies are buried, and who buried them.” —Paul Theroux

“The stories recounted here were once front-page news and they lose none of their timeliness in the translation into a book. For those who lived through those times, the book is an opportunity to recall the scandals and scoundrels that infested Hawai‘i, and for those too young to remember, it is a reminder of why a vigilant press is an essential ingredient to an informed public.” —Gerald Kato, associate professor of journalism, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


Veteran investigative reporter James Dooley revisits highlights of his journalistic career in Sunny Skies, Shady Characters, revealing entertaining backstories on how he chased high-profile scandals of crime and corruption from the 1970s into the 2000s. In the process, he provides an insider’s look at the business of journalism and the craft of investigative reporting. For a glimpse at the people and cases he covers, take a look at the book’s index here.

Although warehouse stock has only just arrived in Hawai‘i, the book has already triggered memories and discussion due to early media attention, especially preview excerpts that appeared in the August issue of HONOLULU Magazine (released in late July). Civil Beat columnist Neal Milner wrote last week, “As Dooley shows, some of the corruption in Hawaii, like [Ronnie] Ching himself, was bloody and sinister, involving the Mob, Yakuza, and pitched battles between rival Teamster Union members. Other scandals like the Bishop Estate and Kukui Plaza affairs, may not have involved violence, but in their own way they were as outrageous, crude and blatant as a Mafia hit.” David Shapiro’s book review in Sunday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser stated, “his greatest hits were darned impressive, and it’ll likely be enough for Sunny Skies, Shady Characters to join the short list of books considered must-reads for those seeking to understand Hawaii.”

EVENTS (most recent listed at the bottom)
• Author James Dooley will give a Center for Biographical Research brown bag talk on Thursday, September 3, noon to 1:15 p.m., in UHM Henke Hall 325.
• Join us for HONOLULU Magazine‘s downtown pau hana talk and book signing on Wednesday, September 16, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Hukilau restaurant (1088 Bishop Street). Click here for the e-invite.
• On Saturday, October 3, starting at 12 noon, Dooley will sign at Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana Center, following an appearance at the Perry and Price Saturday Morning Show broadcast live from Jade Dynasty restaurant, also at Ala Moana Center.
• Head over to the windward side of O‘ahu on Saturday, October 10, noon to 1 p.m., for a signing at BookEnds in Kailua (Kailua Shopping Center, 600 Kailua Road).
• On Saturday, November 7, Jim Dooley will be one of a dozen authors signing at the Daughters of Hawai‘i’s annual Book Day at Queen Emma. (Another veteran journalist, Denby Fawcett, will be there to sign her book, Secrets of Diamond Head.)
• Dooley joins two other authors (Kusuma Cooray and Leslie Hayashi) at the UH Manoa Bookstore‘s Preview Night, Thursday, November 19, 5 to 7 p.m.
• UH Press is partnering with University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s Hamilton Library in hosting a new lecture series, Laha Mau Book Talks. Jim Dooley will present the second in the series on Thursday, December 9, starting at 4 p.m. in room 301.

For further details, please check back on this post or contact Carol Abe in the UH Press marketing department.

MEDIA (see also the above links)
• Political analyst Dan Boylan gives high praise to the book in his October 7 MidWeek column. See page 10 of the print replica edition.
• On Thursday, October 8, Jim Dooley was on HPR2’s “Town Square” guest-hosted by Neal Milner. The show aired live at 5 p.m. HST and is now archived for later listening.
• Click the highlighted text to listen to the interview by Chris Vandercook on the August 25 “The Conversation” show on HPR2 and the hourlong discussion on the August 23 Carroll Cox radio show.

Celebrating the “Wonderfully Subversive Power of Libraries and Librarians” as Robert Ji-Song Ku’s Dubious Gastronomy Wins APALA Literature Award for Adult Nonfiction

APALA-raffle_bracelet
One of the raffle items at the APALA awards dinner—a bracelet with mini book covers of the winning titles.

APALA-logoIn conjunction with the American Library Association annual conference in San Francisco, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) literary awards were presented at a lively dinner ceremony on Saturday, June 27. Dubious Gastronomy: The Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA by Robert Ji-Song Ku, associate professor of Asian American studies at Binghamton University–SUNY, received the top honor in the adult nonfiction category. While Professor Ku regrettably was unable to attend the event, his prepared remarks were read by UH Press development director Colins Kawai, who accepted the award on his behalf. The speech is worth sharing here:

“It is a privilege and an honor to win the 2014-15 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the adult non-fiction category. I am especially honored to receive this award from an association of librarians because, you see, I was practically raised by librarians since I was eight years old when my family immigrated to Hawaii from Korea in the early 1970s.

Ku-Dubious GastronomyHaving to work several jobs between them from before sunrise to long after sunset, my parents could not afford any sort of childcare, after-school programs, or summer camps for their three children. My mother’s solution was to drop us off at the public library for hours on end. And this is how I fell in love with books, which plunged me into the world of dinosaurs, great white sharks, and faraway galaxies. It also led me to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth, Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, and Maxine Hong Kingston’s girlhood among ghosts, white tigers, and shamans.

I believe it was the filmmaker Michael Moore who said of librarians: “They are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them.”

Ku,RobertI couldn’t agree more. The fact that I went on to earn a PhD in English literature, become a professor of Asian American studies, and author books about Asian Americans is a testament to the wonderfully subversive and revolutionary power of libraries and librarians. No, I don’t mess with librarians; I give them props!

I thank the University of Hawai‘i Press for publishing my book, and especially my editor, Masako Ikeda, for believing in my book from the very get-go. I thank my family—my wife Nancy and twin boys Eliot and Oliver—for everything under and above the sun. But most of all, on this day, I thank the members of APALA for bestowing upon me this incredible honor.”

All of us at UHP join him in giving props to librarians everywhere!