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!

UHP in San Francisco | American Library Association Conference

1db8bbb9-7b4e-4b4c-aeec-a043ff97a29cVisit us at booth 2302 for a discount on our titles!

Warehouses Closing for Inventory

UHP-niceskyOur Hawai‘i and Pennsylvania warehouses will be closed for annual inventory June 18–30. Orders may continue to be placed online and will be filled when shipments resume July 1. Mahalo for your patience!

UHP in Berkeley, CA | Bay Area Book Festival

BABFlogowithChronLogoBay Area Book Festival

Indoor/Outdoor Free Festival

June 6-7 | Downtown Berkeley’s Art District, CA
Find more information here.
Drop by our booth for a great discount on some of our most popular titles!

The Blind WriterCall me Captain Marathon Japan Changing Chinese Cities
216 pages
Paper | 978-0-8248-4798-2 | $25.00
Cloth | 978-0-8248-3958-1 | $50.00
Sameer Pandya will be a presenter at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference on Monday, June 8. For more info, click here.

Call Me Captain: A Memoir of a Woman at Sea
Susan Scott

336 pages
Paper | 978-0-8248-3981-9 | $19.99

Marathon Japan: Distance Racing and Civic Culture
Thomas R. H. Havens

240 pages
Cloth | 978-0-8248-4101-0 | $47.00

Changing Chinese Cities: The Potentials of Field Urbanism
Renee Y. Chow

224 pages
Cloth | 978-0-8248-5383-9 | $45.00

UHP in Washington, DC | Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Conference

82ca886f-033c-47fa-8716-dd8d086db199Native American and Indigenous Studies Association
2015 Conference

June 4-6, 2015 | Washington, DC
Find more information here.
Contact mpd4@hawaii.edu for an editor meeting



























Articulating Rapa Nui: Polynesian Cultural Politics in a Latin American Nation-State
Riet Delsing

304 pages
Cloth | 978-0-8248-5168-2 | $59.00

Huihui: Navigating Art and Literature in the Pacific
Jeffrey Carroll, Brandy Nalani McDougall, and Georganne Nordstrom

320 pages
Paper | 978-0-8248-3895-9 | $29.00

The Pearl Frontier: Indonesian Labor and Indigenous Encounters in Australia’s Northern Trading Network
Julia Martínez and Adrian Vickers

240 pages
Cloth | 978-0-8248-4002-0 | $50.00

The Pacific Festivals of Aotearoa New Zealand: Negotiating Place and Identity in a New Homeland
Jared Mackley-Crump

232 pages
Cloth | 978-0-8248-3871-3 | $58.00

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