Categorized | Books, Education, Entertainment

Native Hawaiian women: Readings, reception, book signing


A public reading and book-signing event Sunday in Hilo marks publication of a compilation by Hawaii’s women writers.

“Hookupu; An Offering of Literature by Native Hawaiian Women” is a contemporary compilation of writings from the native women of Hawaii — the first published collection of its kind, which includes many works by unpublished writers.  

This anthology combines many different genres of work by Hawaiian women, including chants, mele, poems, short stories, biographical accounts and a play.  The book is compiled as a hookupu, an offering or gift, of literature.  Many of the captivating works illustrate Hawaiian traditions and cultural practices.   

The writers are of varying backgrounds and ages, but all share a cultural similarity as Hawaiian women.  The writers live on the islands of Oahu, Molokai and Hawaii, as well as in the continental U.S.  

Some of the writers include Pualani Kanakaole Kanahele, who is from an established line of chanters and hula performers (Mohala Ka Pua: The Flower Blooms), Mahealani Perez-Wendt, a well-established poet (Compassionate Hina), Phyllis Coochie Cayan (Braddah), Tamara Wong-Morrison (Proper Offerings to Pele) and a one act play by Doodie Cruz (Whose Nose Dat?).   

The passion of these women is reflected in the resonating voices of their writing. This book will bring to others the eloquent stories of Hawaii through the women’s stories.  

Editor Miyoko Sugano says, “No matter how often we re-read the anthology, we feel the power and joy that emanate from these works as if for the first time. Maybe it’s in the individual works, or maybe it’s the combination of these works, that give this anthology that power and energy.” 

“Hookupu; An Offering of Literature by Native Hawaiian Women” was compiled and edited by Miyoko Sugano and Jackie Pualani Johnson. 

Miyoko is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. She taught courses that specialized in areas such as Pacific Islands Literature, Literature of Hawaii and Asian American Literature. She has had poetry published, and her play, Issei Woman won first prize in the Kumu Kahua contest.  

Jackie Pualani Johnson is a professor of theatre arts at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. For more than 30 years, she has been directing, acting and singing in dramas through the UHH Performing Arts Department. Recently, her work has focused on oral histories (Kona Coffee Days) and historical events in Hawaii.

Sunday’s event

Hookupu celebration: 2-5 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 30, UH-Hilo Performing Arts Center

Readings by: Phyllis Coochie Cayan, Pualani Kanahele, Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, Mahealani Perez-Wendt, Nalanikanakaole, Rachelle “Snookie” Maikui, Doodie Cruz, Muriel Hughes, Cathy Ikeda, Jackie Pualani Johnson, Jerelyn Makanui-Yoshida, Tamara Wong Morrison, Kanani Aton

Other writers include Keonaona Aea, Cheryl Bautista, and Relyn Timbal, of the continental states; the late Eleanor Ahuna of Hilo; and the late Haunani Bernardino of Oahu and Hilo.

Free and open to the public


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