Since 1998, every spring local writers gather on the beautiful Hawaii Loa Campus for the Ko’olau Writing Workshops. Each event features a distinguished local writer. Participants are invited to listen to the featured writer speak, and to take workshops in drama, fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, to boost and inspire their own work. The event begins with a continental breakfast followed by presentation of the James Vaughan Award for Poetry to a local poet. Next comes the featured speaker’s address and then participants select two workshops. Complimentary beverages are provided during the lunch break, but participants should bring their own lunch. HPU students receive a discounted rate.
Past speakers featured at the Ko’olau Writing Workshops
2012 Tyler McMahon's novel, Chloroquine Dreams, made him a finalist for Amazon's 2008 Breakthrough Novel Award. In 2009 he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was runner-up in the Ian McMillan Writing Contest of 2011. He has also published more than 35 essays, short stories, interviews, and reviews.
2011 An Elliot Cades Award-winner, Tonouchi has published a book of short stories in Pidgin titled Da Word, and is compiler of a Pidgin dictionary Da Kine Dictionary: Da Hawai'i Community Pidgin Dictionary Projeck. Also known as “Da Pidgin Guerrilla,” Lee is an accomplished playwright, author of three plays staged by Honolulu Theatre for Youth and the Kumu Kahua Theatre.
2010 Award-winning writer Lee Cataluna, author of “Folks You Meet in Longs” and columnist for The Honolulu Advertiser was the featured speaker. Cataluna graduated magna cum laude from University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. in 1988, and was awarded Distinguished Young Alumna of the University in 1999. She worked in radio and television for 10 years and became a columnist for The Honolulu Advertiser in 2000. This award-winning playwright was previously published in “Bamboo Ridge” and “Hybolics” and in “He Leo Hou: A New Voice –Hawaiian Playwrights.” In 2006, her collection “Folks You Meet in Longs” received the Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award of Excellence in Literature. She also received the Award of Excellence in Writing Literature from the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association.
2009 Cedric Yamanaka, author of Hawai‘i story collection In Good Company, other short stories and screenplays was the featured speaker. Yamanaka grew up in Kalihi and is a Farrington High School graduate. He is a recipient of the Helen Deutsch Fellowship for Creative Writing from Boston University, and received the Cades Award for Literature. Yamanaka is a past winner of the Honolulu Magazine Fiction Contest, and is the host of Hawai‘i Public Radio’s “Aloha Shorts,” a program dedicated to Hawai‘i literature.
2008 Cathy Song, world-renowned and often anthologized poet, and author of poetry books Picture Bride; Frameless Windows, Squares of Light; School Figures; The Land of Bliss; and Cloud Moving Hands was the featured speaker.
2007 Darrell Lum, one of the pioneering voices of Hawai‘i’s literature through use of Hawaii Creole English (pidgin), and author of short fiction collections Sun, short stories and drama and Pass On, No Pass Back, was the featured speaker.
2006 Robert Sullivan, New Zealand Maori poet and award-winning author of poetry books Jazz Waiata, Piki ake!, StarWaka, and Voice Carried My Family was the featured speaker.