Almost Heaven: On the Human and Divine, the winter 2011 issue of Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing, edited by UH Professor Frank Stewart and published by University of Hawai‘i Press, has been recognized as a “Notable Special Issue” of 2011 in Best American Essays 2012. Published by Houghton Mifflin, the award series is edited by Robert Atwan; the guest editor of the 2012 volume is New York Times columnist and best-selling author David Brooks.
Houghton Mifflin’s Best American series is the literary world’s premier showcase for each year’s outstanding essays and fiction. Work in such journals as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Harper’s is considered for selection.
Almost Heaven was supported in part by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities and The Mānoa Foundation. HCH also supported the humanities discourse about the issue by co-sponsoring the July 2012 production of Damien and an educational reader’s guide distributed during the performances. Damien, Aldyth Morris’s play about Father Damien, was the centerpiece of Almost Heaven. The play was a presentation of Mānoa Readers / Theatre Ensemble, which stages events for university, community, and statewide audiences. MR / TE is a collaborative, cross-disciplinary initiative of the UHM Outreach College, Community Services Division, and the UHM College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature.
Gates of Reconciliation, edited by Stewart and Barry Lopez in 2008, was the first Mānoa issue recognized as a “Notable Special Issue” by Best American Essays.