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by Anil Kunnel, staff writer

Saturday featured “Try4Write”, a full day of readings, panels, and writing workshops. One of the panels was a tribute to late local filmmaker Kayo Hatta. Her last film, Fishbowl, was an adaptation of a chapter from Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s novel Wildmeat and the Bully Burgers. In addition to Yamanaka, Eleanor Nakama-Mitsunaga, the producer of the film, and Hatta’s sister Mari talked about the filmmaker’s passion and read passages from her diary, which led to very emotional reactions among the audience.

There also was a writer’s contest in which every visitor could take part. The only rule was to present an aphorism, poem, or short story on only one page. The winner was Sarah Imamoto with “Not Skinny, But(t).”

Although there was a student registration fee, students in HPU’s Hawai‘i Writers literature class were able to attend the readings and workshops for free. Their instructor Michelle Soong, a member of the Board of Directors for Bamboo Ridge Press, was mistress of ceremony for the two-day event and introduced all the speakers, readings, and workshops.

“ It was really cool being able to talk to the local writers,” said Kevin MacClaren, a senior-year history major at HPU.

“ I’ve been around authors before,” said Kristen Dahlberg, an exercise and health promotion junior, “but never in a situation where they could teach me what they know and make those around them think so much. About writing, about reading, about thinking.” She added: “All of the authors were passionate about their topics and works and extremely interested in us and our writing.”

Soong was very pleased with her student’s reactions: “What better way to give students a chance to come into contact with the passion that drives writers to create and for readers to read,” she said. “I work hard on helping to put on this event because I love seeing my students light up with excitement engaging with other writers and readers.”


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