LOIS-ANN YAMANAKA Biography - Writers


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Lois-Ann Yamanaka (born September 7, 1961 in Hololehua, Molokali, Hawaii) is a             
Japanese American poet and novelist from Hawaii. Many of her critically                   
acclaimed literary works are written in Hawaiian Pidgin, and some of her writing           
has dealt with controversial ethnic issues. In particular, her works confront             
themes of Asian American families and the local culture of Hawaii.                         
Among her principal works are:                                                             
Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre, a book of poems written in Hawaiian Pidgin           
Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers (1996)                                                     
Blu's Hanging (1997)                                                                       
Heads by Harry (1998)                                                                     
Name Me Nobody (2000)                                                                     
Father of the Four Passages (2001)                                                         
The Heart's Language (2005)                                                               
Behold the Many (2006)                                                                     
In 1993, Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre received the Pushcart Prize for             
poetry. Later, in 1994, the Association for Asian American Studies awarded the             
collection its fiction award.                                                             
In 1998, her novel Blu's Hanging was also awarded a fiction award by the                   
Association of Asian American Studies. However, amid similar accusations that             
the book's portrayal of one of the characters perpetuated stereotypes about               
Filipino men, the board rescinded the award. This action sparked controversy               
among the Asian American literary community (with noted Asian American authors             
Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston supporting Yamanaka).                                     
In 2004, a short film, Silent Years, based on Yamanaka's screenplay was released.         
It is a story about a thirteen-year-old girl caught between an abusive uncle and           
a seventeen-year-old boyfriend, who expects a gift for his high school                     
The April 2007 issue of Honolulu Magazine has an excerpt from Yamanaka's                   
upcoming novel, with the working title, The Mother Mary Stories.