Native Reading Series

Bill Wetzel, the founder of Stjukshon: An Indigenous Reading Series, entices native writers and artists from across the country and artistic disciplines to Tucson. There, the artists read, perform, chant, and/ or tell stories at Casa Libre en Solana to a rapt audience. Bill has hosted Simon Ortiz, Jody Thompson, Sterling Holywhitemountain, and Bojan Louis, among others, and each voice has added breadth and depth to what the native experience-- and its expression-- is and can be. I was delighted to read in the series in September, and connection I felt with the audience-- the laughter, the pathos, the love-- was very special. Here, Bill talks to PBS about the series. If you live anywhere near Tucson, I highly recommend attending one of the events in the near future.

Where I eat in Honolulu

I'm in Honolulu right now to celebrate my first reading and book signing, which was this past Saturday at the Barnes & Noble in Ala Moana Mall. After, my friends, family and I headed to one of my favorite spots in Honolulu: SALT bar & kitchen. I just mentioned SALT in a travel piece I wrote for Fodors.com about a few of my go-to eateries in town. The article barely touched the surface; I didn't even have a chance to talk island-crafted chocolates or Kailua secrets or pho spots or.... So if you want recommendations, or have some for me, I'd love to continue the conversation.

And if you're more the cooking kind, I love Kahakai Kitchen, a blog that pairs books and movies with recipes. Check out Deb's recipe for opah tacos to eat with her review of This is Paradise. 

On being interviewed

I've had the strange experience recently of being interviewed. The balance between private and public life, writing and living, and fiction and reality, seemed to be tried by the act of the interview. However, I was fortunate to have very good, very thoughtful interviewers.

Tyler McMahon wrote this thoughtful Q&A for the Fiction Writer's Review while Jessica Gross offers this lovely interview for Kirkus. What I found especially wonderful about these two interviews was the way I was able to speak so openly with both the interviewers.

Tyler and I initially met because we were both working at Hawaii Pacific University. Since then, he's helped me with my surf technique, and his wife and I have hit it off as fellow foodies. I just read a galley of Tyler's next novel and let me tell you, it is going to blow you out of the water! Check out Tyler's first novel, How the Mistakes Were Made , on his website.

As for Jessica, we realized that we had followed similar paths: Both Princeton alumni, we had wanted to be journalists. But while journalism took me into teaching and fiction, it accidentally (but wonderfully) landed her with enough sweet free-lancing gigs to make it a full-time job. (Brava!) You have to read her interview with Christopher Walken and check out her other clips.

Finally, Writer's Digest did a Debut Author Q&A that is a light, fun read. 

Elle & O

I am an avid magazine reader and everything from Vanity Fair  to The Atlantic Monthly , Glamour to The Nutrition Action Newsletter  delights me. But this month is special because two of the magazines I love-- Elle  and O, The Oprah Magazine -- are showering me with love.

The amazing Lisa Shea, author of the novel Hula, reviewed This is Paradise  for Elle . Of my book, she wrote:

“[A] sparkling debut story collection . . . A writer with one foot in the native Hawaiian community and the other in the mainland mainstream gives us an edgy, unmistakably authentic glimpse of the harder side of island life. Kahakauwila captures in six related stories the striving lives, colorful pidgin dialect, and varied relationships that anchor and challenge her strikingly drawn characters."

And in O  magazine I was part of the terrific summer reading list, which included sections for nonfiction, mystery, and (my category!) short fiction:

This Is Paradise 

by Kristiana Kahakauwila, navigates an ocean of tension between tourists and islanders in paradisiacal, paradoxical Hawaii. Gritty, haunting, and suspenseful.”

Check out the July issues of Elle and and let me know what you think!