3rd Annual Words@Mā
Creative Writing Conference 

co-sponsored by the

UH Mānoa Creative Writing Program
& the Hawai'i Review


Saturday, October 22



Join us for a day of creative writing sessions at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Campus Center. We will have a total of eight sessions to choose from, followed by lunch, a book fair, and a keynote address by renowned Hawai'i artist Solomon Enos. This year, as part of a fundraising campaign for the Hawai'i Review, we are asking for a token pre-registration fee of $10 for community members and $5 for university students. Tickets at the door will be $15.

This year, we are especially encouraging young adults to join us and see that taking words seriously can be fun! Thanks to a special sponsorship from the Creative Writing Program, young writers 17 and under are invited to join the Youth Sessions at no charge.

The sessions will create a generative writing space for old hands and novices alike. Coffee, refreshments, and lunch will be provided to all registrants, and the book fair will feature the work of some your favorite local writers and artists. A detailed schedule will be released to registrants no less than a week prior to the conference. Here's our lineup (click here for a PDF of the agenda): 

8:00 – 8:45 am

Check-in, Coffee, and Conversation (Campus Center Ballroom)

8:45 – 9:00 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks (Campus Center Ballroom)
   S. Shankar – Director, Dept. of English Creative Writing Program
   Jeffery Long – Editor-in-Chief, Hawai’i Review

9:00 – 10:30 am

Session 1 (Campus Center Breakout Rooms)
   Solomon Enos – Art of the Graphic Novel (Room 307)
   Lee Kava – Youth Session (Room 308)
   Stephanie Han – Fiction (Room 309)
   Victoria Kneubuhl – Drama and Playwriting (Room 310)

10:30 – 10:45 am

Coffee Break (Campus Center Ballroom)

10:45 – 12:15 pm

Session 2 (Campus Center Breakout Rooms)
   Alicia Upano – Publishing and the Writing Life (Room 307)
   Kamden Hilliard – Youth Session (Room 308)
   Rajiv Mohabir – Poetry (Room 309)
   Kapena Landgraf – Mo‘olelo as (hi)story (Room 310)

12:15 – 1:15 pm

Lunch and Bookfair (Campus Center Ballroom)
   Tinfish Press
   Revolution Books

1:15 – 1:30 pm

Readings by Ian MacMillan Contest Judges (Campus Center Ballroom)
   Shawna Yang Ryan
   Craig Santos Perez

1:30 – 2:15 pm

Keynote Address (Campus Center Ballroom)
   Solomon Enos

2:15 – 3:00 pm



Keynote Address & Graphic Novel Session

Solomon Robert Nui Enos is a Native Hawaiian educator, artist, illustrator, and visionary. Born and raised in Makaha Valley (O‘ahu, Hawai‘i), Solomon hails from the well-known Enos ‘ohana. His father, Eric Enos, is an accomplished artist and cultural practitioner who has been active in the community for more than 40 years. Solomon, too, has the creative gene and has been making art for more than 30 years. His recent work reveals an extraordinary talent, adept at artistic expression in a wide variety of media including oil paintings, book illustrations, outdoor murals (both painted and in glass mosaic), and mixed-media sculptures. A self-described “intelligent optimist,” Solomon’s art expresses his own aspirational vision of the world at its best, which is, at times, deployed through poly-fantastic (science fiction) narratives. His work touches on themes of ancestry and identity, the human relationship with the earth, and the future of Hawai‘i, its people, and its resources. Solomon has exhibited in Biennial X (Honolulu Museum of Art), 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Queensland Art Gallery), CONTACT art exhibitions, and others. His work is held in private collections and in the public collection of the Hawai‘i State Art Museum. He has also received numerous art commissions — including public and community mural projects, upscale hotels, corporate offices, and schools in Hawai‘i.


Playwriting Session

Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, playwright and author, was born in Honolulu and is of Hawaiian and Samoan ancestry.  Many of her plays have been produced by Kumu Kahua Theatre, including The Holiday of Rain in 2011. Several of her plays have toured Britain, America, the Pacific, and Asia.  She is currently a producer/writer for the TV series Biography Hawai`i. Hawai`i Nei, her collection of three plays, was published in 2002, and a third novel in her mystery series, “Murder Frames the Scene,”  was published this year by the University of Hawaiʻi Press. In 1994 she was honored with the Hawai`i Award for Literature, the highest honor the State of Hawai`i bestows on a writer. 

Fiction Session

Stephanie Han’s (MFA, PhD) award-winning debut short story collection Swimming in Hong Kong will be published by Willow Springs/Eastern Washington University Press in November 2016. The collection was the sole finalist for the AWP Grace Paley Prize (2015) and won awards from the South China Morning Post, Nimrod International Literary Journal, and Santa Fe Writer’s Project. Han is the very first PhD graduate in English literature from City University of Hong Kong. She received grants from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs for her poetry and fiction, VONA and PEN-West Emerging Voices fellowships, and has published across the genres (poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, literary criticism) in numerous journals and anthologies. She resides in O‘ahu where her family has lived since 1904, and teaches at Hawai‘i Pacific University.

Poetry Session

Winner of 2015 AWP Intro Journal Award and the 2014 Intro Prize in Poetry by Four Way Books for his first full-length collection The Taxidermist’s Cut (2016), and recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant, Rajiv Mohabir received fellowships from Voices of Our Nation’s Artist foundation, Kundiman, and the American Institute of Indian Studies language program. His second volume of poetry, The Cowherd’s Son, won the 2015 Kundiman Prize and is forthcoming from Tupelo Press. He received his MFA in Poetry and Translation from Queens College, CUNY where he was Editor in Chief of the Ozone Park Literary Journal. Currently he is pursuing a PhD in English from the University of Hawai`i.

Publishing and the Writing Life

Alicia Upano, born and raised on O‘ahu, has worked with journalistic, arts, and academic publications over the past 15 years. As a staff member and editor, she’s read through slush piles, worked with authors, and helped develop and market creative work. She is also the recipient of six awards for her journalism work in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. and is the fiction winner of the 2016 Hawai‘i Poets and Writers’ Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award.

Mo‘olelo as (hi)story

Born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kapena Landgraf spent much of his childhood in the plantation towns of Pepe’ekeo, Pāpa’ikou, and Onomea before his family moved to Kaūmana in upper Hilo.  He graduated from Hilo High School in 2006 and currently attends UH Mānoa as a Ph.D. candidate in English (3rd year).  His concentrations are Indigenous Hawaiian literature, local literature of Hawaiʻi, and creative writing pedagogy.  As he specializes in creative writing, he hopes to develop a creative writing course/workshop which adopts Native Hawaiian story-telling (mo‘olelo) practices in conjunction with the use of Native Hawaiian literary strategies and devices first articulated in the works of Dr. Hiapo Perreira and Dr. ku'ualoha ho'omanawanui.

Youth Session

Lee Kava is a hafekasi poet and musician of Tongan descent, currently pursuing her PhD in English at UH Mānoa. She is the founder of the Pacific Verse, a music and poetry-writing workshop series that works with participants to create original lyrics and music using indigenous Pacific languages. She dedicates her work to the genealogy of creative expression in Oceania, and hopes to make positive social change through Pacific music and poetry.

Youth Session

Kamden Hilliard goes by Kam and is an Editor at Jellyfish Magazine. They got kudos from The Ucross Foundation, The NFAA, The Davidson Institute, VSC, and Callaloo. The author of two chapbooks, Distress Tolerance (Magic Helicopter Press, 2016) and Perceived Distance From Impact (Black Lawrence Press, 2017), Kam stays busy. Find their work in The Black Warrior Review, Lambda Literary Review, Redivider, West Branch and other sunspots. 


Reading: Ian MacMillan Contest Judges

Shawna Yang Ryan is a former Fulbright scholar and the author of Water Ghosts (Penguin Press 2009) and Green Island (Knopf 2016). Green Island, a novel set during Taiwan’s martial law era, was an Amazon Best Book of February and an Indie Next Pick, and a Straits Times bestseller in Singapore. She is the 2015 recipient of the Elliot Cades Emerging Writer award. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

Craig Santos Perez is the editor of two anthologies, the author of three books of poetry, and the winner of an American Book Award. He is an associate professor in the English Department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa.



Book Fair: Tinfish Press

Susan M.Schultz is author of several volumes of poetry and poetic prose, including two volumes of Dementia Blog (Singing Horse Press) and the most recent installment of Memory Cards, this the Thomas Traherne series, from Talisman House. She founded Tinfish Press in 1995, and also writes criticism, reviews, and meditations on her blog. She is also author of The Poetics of Impasse in Modern and Contemporary Poetry from the University of Alabama Press. Her heart remains with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, as well as with her family in Kāne’ohe, Hawai‘i. You can read Susan M. Schultz’s sequence of prose poems ‘Memory Cards: Traherne Series, 11 to 20’ from JPR02, March 2015, here.

Book Fair: Revolution Books

  Pictured: Carolyn Hadfield, General Manager

Pictured: Carolyn Hadfield, General Manager

The last day of business for the Revolution Books storefront in Honolulu will be October 21, and it will remain closed for the foreseeable future; the building will be demolished in November. After being active in and supported by the community for 40 years, their plans for the future are still a "work in progress." Meanwhile, the staff's first consideration is political: "The world cries out for revolution, and the Revolution Books staff intends to contribute as much as possible to making a real revolution in the U.S.  In the immediate future we will focus on taking revolutionary literature  directly to the people in the neighborhoods, on the campuses, and everywhere where people are resisting and questioning.  We will continue to keep people informed of new books and events via the Revolution Books email.  To receive the e-mails send a request to"