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by Angela Sorace, student writer

Everything you know about writing isn’t necessarily wrong, but it may not be enough.

That was the message at the 10th annual Ko‘olau Writing Workshop, March 3 at HPU’s Hawai‘i Loa campus.

The workshop featured guest speaker Darrell H.Y. Lum, local fiction writer and co-founder and co-editor of Bamboo Ridge Press, the leading publisher of contemporary local literature.

Lum is considered one of the pioneering voices of Hawai‘i literature’s use of Pidgin and a recipient of the Hawai‘i Award for Literature, the state’s highest award for literature.

At the event Christy Anne L. Passion, a local writer and poet, was awarded the 7th annual HPU James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry.

About 40 literary enthusiasts of all ages participated to the event, which started with a speech by Lum. The writing workshops followed.

For $10 ($5 for students), participants could attend up to two of the four workshops offered: fiction, poetry, nonfiction and scriptwriting. Each workshop was led by award-winning and veteran writers.

“ It is good for HPU to do a community outreach in writing,” said Patricia M. Wilson, an assistant professor of English at HPU, editor of the Hawai‘i Pacific Review, and coordinator of the Ko‘olau Workshop. “I believe writers benefit from being around each other,” Wilson added.

Wilson said she applies for a $200 grant each year from the Hawai‘i Literacy Council, which covers the workshop’s expenses.

Michaela Kocis, 28, from the Czech Republic, a graduate student in HPU’s College of Communication, said the workshops were helpful.

Before attending the workshop on nonfiction writing, Kocis said she didn’t know the best way to sell an article to a magazine.

Lynne Halevi, a senior citizen from Los Angeles and an O‘ahu resident since 1970, has a passion for writing. Halevi, who has taken free playwriting courses at the University of Hawai‘i, said: “I have attended the [HPU’s] workshops every year and found them very helpful.” She added: “I have learned how to get the reader’s interest quickly, so that he continues to read the article. Also, how to identify a lie, to know if [a source] is giving you honest information to write about.”

Although she was satisfied with the workshop, Wilson said she anticipated more adults participating. She plans to work with other journals and editors to increase publicity about the event and lure more adults to it. She’s even considering raising the fee by $5 for adults and $2 for students next year. Nonetheless, she said, she enjoyed the event, especially Lum’s speech.

“ I was thrilled to get him to come,” Wilson said. “And he was terrific.”

Past guest speakers at the Ko‘olau Writing Workshops have included poet Juliet Kono Lee; fiction writer Marie Hara; Nora Okja Keller, author of the best seller Contort Women; Frank Stewart editor of Manoa; Kathleen Norris; and Robert Sullivan, a Maori poet, just to name a few.

Students work together and build their writing skills.

Photos by Angela Sorace



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