The Adventures of Vela Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

The Adventures of VelaThe Adventures of Vela, by Albert Wendt and published last fall by UH Press, has been shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Southeast Asia and Pacific Best Book division).

The critically acclaimed Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is in its 24th year and offers an exceptional opportunity for new writers to demonstrate their talent and for authors already on the literary scene to strengthen their reputation. The prize is presented by the Commonwealth Foundation with support from the Macquarie Group Foundation. The final program, starting on April 7, 2010, in Delhi, India, will bring together the finalists from the different regions of the Commonwealth, and the two overall winners will be announced there on April 12.

The Pink Notebook of Madame Chrysantheme

The Chrysantheme PapersPierre Loti’s novel Madame Chrysanthème (1888) enjoyed great popularity during the author’s lifetime, served as a source of Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly, and remains in print to this day as a classic in Western literature. Loti’s story, cast in the form of his fictionalized diary, describes the affair between a French naval officer and Chrysanthème, a temporary “bride” purchased in Nagasaki. More broadly, Loti’s novel helped define the terms in which Occidentals perceived Japan as delicate, feminine, and, to use one of Loti’s favorite words, “preposterous”—in short, ripe for exploitation.

The Pink Notebook of Madame Chrysanthème (1893) sought, according to a newspaper reviewer at the time, “to avenge Japan for the adjectives that Pierre Loti has inflicted on it.” Written by Félix Régamey, a talented illustrator with firsthand knowledge of Japan, The Pink Notebook retells Loti’s story but this time as the diary of Chrysanthème. The book, presented here in English for the first time and together with the original French text and illustrations by Régamey and others, is certainly surprising in its late nineteenth-century context. Its retelling of a classic tale from the position of a character marginalized by her sex and race provocatively anticipates certain aspects of postmodern literature. Translator Christopher Reed’s rich and satisfying introduction compares Loti and Régamey in relation to attitudes toward Japan held by notable Japonistes Vincent van Gogh, Lafcadio Hearn, Edmond de Goncourt, and Philippe Burty.

February 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3374-9 / $14.00 (PAPER)

Bright Triumphs and Chinese Pioneer Families Authors in the News

Hawaii Public Radio interviewed David Heenan, the author of Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours: Turning Adversity into Success. Click here to listen.

Ken Yee, editor of Chinese Pioneer Families of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai, published in October 2009 by the Hawaii Chinese History Center and distributed by UH Press, was also recently interviewed on KHPR. Click here to listen. Earlier this week, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin featured Yee and his book (as well as an excerpt). Click here to read the article.

Livia Kohn Leads Daoist Immersion Workshop

Livia Kohn, author of Chinese Healing Exercises: The Tradition of Daoyin, will lead “Daoist Immersion,” a week-long workshop that explores how living a Daoist life can make a difference in the world today. The workshop will be held in Bear Mountain Range, Cibola National Forest, near Albuquerque, New Mexico, September 11-18, 2010. For more information and to register email or call 727-501-6915.

Professor Kohn is the author of many books on Taoism and Chinese religion and philosophy published by Three Pines Press, which is distributed by University of Hawai‘i Press.

In Memoriam – Bob Dye (1928–2010)

Author, historian, and journalist Bob Dye passed away on February 5, 2010.