Sunday, September 1, 2013

Journey into the deeper beauty and volcanic power of Hawaiʻi October 29

Mark your calendars for October!

While in Ann Arbor, author Tom Peek will be doing three talks: Tuesday day at the University of Michigan Graduate Library, Tuesday night at the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library, and Wednesday night at Nicola's Books. Times to be announced. I'll be joining him for the Tuesday night reading:

Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) Talk Tuesday October 29, 2013, 7:00 or 7:30 pm?
Journey into the deeper beauty and volcanic power of Hawaiʻi October 29

Look beyond the idyllic tourist image of Hawaii and explore the deeper beauty and sacred heritage of Hawaiʻi and its volcanoes through its cultural traditions, history, literature, music, and art with authors Tom Peek and Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, and renowned hula teacher and scholar Dr. Amy Kuʻuleialoha Stillman. The program will include Hawaiian traditions, lively author readings, some nature photography, and the volcano-inspired art of Big Island painter Catherine Robbins. Light Hawaiian snacks will be served.

Hawaii-based writer Tom Peek will read from his new novel, Daughters of Fire, a gripping story of interracial and intercultural romance, political intrigue, myth and murder, set atop the volcanoes of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi and filled with complex characters that reveal the true heart of Hawaiʻi. Ann Arbor-based writer Frances Kai-Hwa Wang will read from her new chapbook, Where the Lava Meets the Sea—Asian Pacific American Postcards from Hawai‘i, in which she explores the natural wonders, many cultures, and interesting characters of Big Island as she searches for home in Hawai‘i, and instead discovers an Asian Pacific American sense of belonging. They will be joined by two-time Grammy-Award-winning University of Michigan professor of American Culture and hula kumuDr. Amy Kuʻuleialoha Stillman who will share a Pele chant. Together, they will discuss the cultural and environmental challenges facing Hawaiʻi, as well as the Midwest, today. This program will appeal to anyone interested in Hawaiʻi, intersecting cultures, fragile landscapes, environmental impacts of development—and awesome volcanoes.

Tom Peek lived his early life on the Upper Mississippi on a backwaters island of Minnesota river folk, beaver, and ancient burial mounds. After hitchhiking by boat through the South Seas, he settled on the island of Hawai'i, where he’s lived for two decades. There, he’s been a mountain and astronomy guide on Mauna Kea and an eruption ranger, firefighter, and exhibit writer on Kilauea, working closely with Hawaiian elders and cultural practitioners on both volcanoes. For more information visit

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second generation Chinese American originally from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She has written for,, and Ann Arbor Observer, and she is currently a contributor for New America Media's Ethnoblog, Chicago is the World, Pacific Citizen,, and HuffPost Live. She writes and speaks about multicultural issues, and she team-teaches Asian Pacific American History and the Law at the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Dearborn. She is the author of Imaginary Affairs—Postcards from an Imagined Life andWhere the Lava Meets the Sea—Asian Pacific American Postcards from Hawaii, available at Check out her blog at

Dr. Amy Kuʻuleialoha Stillman, born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, is a Professor of American Culture, and a past Director of Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at the University of Michigan. Dr. Stillman is the author of Sacred Hula: The Historical Hula ʻAlaʻapapa, and more than twenty articles on Polynesian music and dance traditions (particularly Hawaiʻi and Tahiti). She is also a two-time Grammy award winner for Best Hawaiian Music Album, as co-producer, lyricist and accompanist. She is also actively involved in community projects and advocacy among Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. For more information visit

Update: Hawaii-based painter Catherine Robbins will be joining us, too!

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