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


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!

Hawaiian Historical Society hosts UHP author John R. K. Clark

Author John R. K. Clark turns to the Hawaiian newspaper archives to create rich reference guides filled with primary resource accounts of places in Hawai’i — his latest title, North Shore Place Names, comes from a lifelong passion for surfing and fascination with Hawai’i’s home of legendary winter swells. This title is an important example of one of many transitions in research style for scholars of Hawai’i — please take a look at his Hawaiian Historical Society lecture by clicking on the image to the left.

His latest title, North Shore Place Names, can be found on our web store.

2015 Hawaii Book & Music Festival: UH Press Tent & Author Events

HBMF2015_event map_master_FINALUniversity of Hawai‘i Press will be among the publishers, booksellers, and nonprofits exhibiting at the 10th annual Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival this weekend, May 2–3, at the Frank F. Fasi Civic Grounds next to Honolulu Hale. Admission and parking are free. Go to the festival website to download a detailed schedule of events and PDF of the map shown above. Be sure to come by the UH Press tent, located near the Alana Pavilion (left side of the map, ‘ewa-mauka corner). We’ll have our latest Hawai‘i titles available for sale at a discount and will offer free U.S. shipping on any orders taken onsite.

Numerous UH Press authors will be participating in this yearly “celebration of story and song.” Some highlights to look for:

• UH Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji and journalist Ann Miller will talk about their collaboration in writing Wahine Volleyball: 40 Years Coaching Hawai‘i’s Team. (Saturday, 10 a.m.; signing at 11 a.m.)
John R. K. Clark, whose ninth UHP title, North Shore Place Names: Kahuku to Ka‘ena, received the 2015 Ka Palapala Po‘okela honorable mention in Hawaiian Language, Culture & History, will be on the “Hawaiian Sense of Place” panel. (Saturday, 11 a.m.; signing at 12 noon)
• UHM ethnic studies professor Jonathan Okamura will moderate the “From Race to Ethnicity” panel based on his book, From Race to Ethnicity: Interpreting Japanese American Experiences in Hawai‘i. (Saturday, 12 noon; signing at 1 p.m.)
• An entire session is devoted to the third volume in the Hawai‘inuiākea series, ‘Ike Ulana Lau Hala: The Vitality and Vibrancy of Lau Hala Weaving Traditions in Hawai‘i, with coeditor Lia O’Neill Keawe as moderator, and several contributors as panel speakers. (Saturday, 12 noon)
• Veteran journalist Denby Fawcett will be at the UHP booth to sign copies of her colorful and definitive book on O‘ahu’s iconic landmark, Secrets of Diamond Head: A History and Trail Guide. (Saturday, signing at 2 p.m.)
• Marine biologist and “Ocean Watch” columnist Susan Scott—called “a gifted speaker” during her recent Midwest tour—will present her newest title, Call Me Captain: A Memoir of a Woman at Sea. (Sunday, 11 a.m.; signing at 12 noon)
• Independent historian/researcher Dawn Duensing will give a unique perspective, accompanied by slides, on the theme of her just-published book, Hawai‘i’s Scenic Roads: Paving the Way for Tourism in the Islands. Previously a Maui resident, she is currently relocating from Australia to England. (Sunday, 2 p.m.; signing at 3 p.m.)
Sydney Iaukea, author of Keka‘a: The Making and Saving of North Beach West Maui, distributed by UHP for the North Beach–West Maui Benefit Fund, will moderate a panel on the book’s topic. (Sunday, 2 p.m.)
• MĀNOA journal editor Frank Stewart will host readings from the latest issue, Islands of Imagination, Volume One: Modern Indonesian Plays. (Sunday, 3 p.m.)

Authors will stop by the UHP booth throughout both days after their presentations for impromptu signings, so visit us often. Also check out our friends at Native Books/Nā Mea Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i State Public Library System booths.

Happy 10th anniversary, HBMF—here’s hoping today’s gorgeous weather continues through the weekend!

2015 Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards: UH Press Nominees

KaPalapala2015-inviteThe 22nd annual Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards celebration is scheduled for Thursday, April 23, 6 to 9 p.m., at Imin Conference Center (Jefferson Hall) at the East-West Center, which adjoins University of Hawai‘i’s Mānoa campus. Hawaii News Now reporter/commentator Howard Dicus will again be the ceremony emcee. The awards are presented annually by Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association to honor Hawai‘i’s finest books and their authors, illustrators, designers, and publishers.

Titles with a 2014 copyright date were eligible for this year’s awards. UH Press has a wonderful group of nominees (listed alphabetically by author’s name):

North Shore Place Names: Ka‘ena to Kahuku, by John R. K. Clark
(Excellence in Hawaiian Language, Culture & History)

Ocean to Plate: Cooking Fish with Hawai‘i’s Kusuma Cooray, by Kusuma Cooray; designed by Mardee Melton
(Excellence in Cookbooks; Excellence in Design)

Hawaiian Plant Life: Vegetation and Flora, by Robert J. Gustafson, Derral R. Herbst, and Philip W. Rundel; designed by Mardee Melton
(Excellence in Illustrative or Photographic Books; Excellence in Natural Science; Excellence in Design)

‘Ike Ulana Lau Hala: The Vitality and Vibrancy of Lau Hala Weaving Traditions in Hawai‘i, edited by Lia O’Neill Keawe, Marsha MacDowell, and C. Kurt Dewhurst
(Excellence in Hawaiian Language, Culture & History)

Kua‘āina Kahiko: Life and Land in Ancient Kahikinui, Maui, by Patrick Vinton Kirch
(Excellence in Hawaiian Language, Culture & History; Excellence in Nonfiction)

Sovereign Sugar: Industry and Environment in Hawai‘i, by Carol A. MacLennan
(Excellence in Nonfiction)

From Race to Ethnicity: Interpreting Japanese American Experiences in Hawai‘i, by Jonathan Y. Okamura
(Excellence in Nonfiction)

I Ulu I Ka ‘Aina: Land, edited by Jonathan Osorio
(Excellence in Hawaiian Language, Culture & History)

The Watersmart Garden: 100 Great Plants for the Tropical Xeriscape, by Fred D. Rauch and Paul R. Weissich
(Excellence in Natural Science)

Local Story: The Massie-Kahahawai Case and the Culture of History, by John P. Rosa
(Excellence in Nonfiction)

Call Me Captain: A Memoir of a Woman at Sea, by Susan Scott
(Excellence in Nonfiction)

Wahine Volleyball: 40 Years Coaching Hawai‘i’s Team, by Dave Shoji with Ann Miller; designed by Julie Matsuo-Chun
(Excellence in Special-Interest Books; Excellence in Design)

Surfing Places, Surfboard Makers: Craft, Creativity, and Cultural Heritage in Hawai‘i, California, and Australia; by Andrew Warren and Chris Gibson
(Excellence in Special-Interest Books)

The Value of Hawai‘i 2: Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions; edited by Aiko Yamashiro and Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua
(Excellence in Nonfiction)

In addition to the above UHP titles, ones distributed by UH Press were nominated by their respective publishers:

‘Io Lani: The Hawaiian Hawk; photographs by William S. Chillingworth with essays by John L. Culliney

Breaking the Silence: Lessons of Democracy and Social Justice from the World War II Honouliuli Internment and POW Camp in Hawai‘i, edited by Suzanne Falgout and Linda Nishigaya

Secrets of Diamond Head : A History and Trail Guide, by Denby Fawcett

Lihu‘e: Root and Branch of a Hawai‘i Town, by Pat L. Griffin

Keka‘a: The Making and Saving of North Beach West Maui, by Sydney Lehua Iaukea

Reflections of Honor: The Untold Story of a Nisei Spy, by Lorraine Ward and Katherine Erwin with Yoshinobu Oshiro

For a complete list of this year’s nominees, read the Hawaii Book Blog post.

Kudos and good wishes to all!