Pacific Writers Connection

About Us

Our Vision

We believe in the power of writing to change people's lives and acknowledge that writers help make the Pacific region a place of creativity and peace.

Our Mission

To encourage and support nature, environment and place based creative writing programs, and youth writing and reading programs that encourage nature writers.

PWC engages cultural and arts communities in Hawai'i and the Pacific to ensure their voices are heard and to encourage celebrations and cultural exchanges.

PWC also seeks to increase global awareness and healing through the expression of Hawaiian, Pacific and other Indigenous voices and values, providing a network for creative writers to build and nurture a vibrant community and healthy environment for future generations.

Grantors and Supporters

The Charles Engelhard Foundation

Kenneth Rainin Foundation, San Francisco

Sidney Stern Memorial Trust

Atherton Family Foundation

Cooke Foundation

The Prop Foundation

Hawai‘i Literary Arts Council

Hawai’i Community Foundation

Bank of Hawaii Foundation

Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation

UH Foundation

UH Center for Pacific Islands Studies

State of Hawai'i, Department of Land & Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources and Division of Forestry & Wildlife

Hawai'i Coastal Zone Management Program

Hawai'i Department of Education

Hawai'i Environmental Education Alliance

National Park Service, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai'i Conservation Alliance

Hawai'i Conservation Alliance Foundation

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

The Pacific Writers' Connection (PWC) is a Hawai'i based non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging creative writing and writers and strengthening a network of global citizens who share concerns about their environments, communities, people and cultures. PWC is a collective of creative writers, environment, community and Indigenous leaders from Hawaii and the Pacific who seek to promote writing and literature about nature, the environment, culture and place.

Organizational Structure and Leadership >

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Goals

The Pacific Writers Connection was established in 2001 to support, complement, and encourage collaboration among literary journals and publications, writing and poetry groups, and related artistic communities in Hawaii and the Pacific.

Informed by feedback from participants in PWC's writers' workshops, retreats, seminars and conferences, PWC's goals are to:

• Strengthen the writing and arts communities in Hawaii and the wider Pacific and raise public awareness of Pacific writers and artists.
• Develop and strengthen partnerships with existing arts organizations and academic programs.
• Nurture, encourage and strengthen creative writing, culture and arts communities in Hawaii and the Pacific by establishing a strong writers' network and facilitating writing programs.
• Coordinate and promote writers' workshops, retreats, seminars, and readings, focused on nature, place, culture and the environment.
• Encourage creative writers, and young writers, to develop their unique voices in writing about their passion.
• Improve family literacy in Hawaiian and Pacific families and communities. Inspire and encourage children and young people to write through creative writing initiatives, including our annual My Hawai'i Story Writing Contest and our Writers in the Schools Program.
• Promote better understanding of one another as people, as part of nature.
• Encourage greater compassion and respect for people and the natural world.

Community Need

PWC started with a need expressed by community leaders in Hawai'i to inspire and courage writers and connect them to others who share common ideas and concerns about nature, the environment, culture and traditions. Community leaders and writers are concerned about the adverse effects of global warming and climate change, erosion of Indigenous cultures and traditions, and the impacts of population growth and development on land, water, forests and ocean resources of Hawai'i and the Pacific. PWC is also concerned about family and youth literacy in Hawai'i and the Pacific and the need to improve literacy, cultural expression, and writing skills through culturally relevant initiatives.

• This need was initially expressed by writers and community leaders from Hawai'i, the Pacific Islands and the U.S. mainland who first met at a literary gathering in Hana, Maui in 2001. PWC responded to these community concerns and have implemented a series of writers' workshops, retreats, seminars, residencies and conferences in Hawa'i.

• PWC will continue to work collaboratively with others to support and inspire creative writers in Hawai'i and the Pacific, further develop their writing skills and raise environmental awareness through workshops, retreats, seminars, field experiences and public readings. PWC's projects are a response to a critical need expressed by community leaders and participants in PWC's previous creative writing programs and activities to provide opportunities to support and promote creative writers in Hawai'i and the Pacific Islands to express their concerns about culture, place, nature and environmental issues.

• PWC's programs address an urgent need to enable people with unique natural and cultural histories to express their concerns and share cultural values as a way of inspiring a deep-seated sense of stewardship for the environment, and the history, cultures and traditions that have been gifted to them. People in Hawai'i and the Pacific have expressed concerns about the adverse impacts of globalization, global warming and climate change, environmental degradation, and the loss of traditions and cultures on their families, children, and communities. Policy makers, environmentalists and citizens are concerned about the degradation of precious resources such as water, land and oceans. Inspiring future generations' understanding of the distinct continuum of their place will strengthen ways to protect their communities from the adverse effects of globalization and ecological degradation.

• People in Hawai'i and the Pacific Islands have much to contribute to enhance global citizenship and encourage greater compassion for people and the natural world. There is a need for their voices to be heard and to build community capacity to deal with key issues and concerns. There is also an urgent need to develop culturally appropriate programs to address issues of family and youth literacy in Hawaiian and Pacific Island families and communities. PWC's creative writing programs provide a direct benefit to writers in Hawaiian and Pacific Island communities to enable them to explore this written form of artistic expression to enhance and strengthen cultural identity.

Population Served

PWC's programs target Hawai'i and Pacific Island writers, both established and emerging, children writers, youth, and distinguished guest writers. PWC also targets family and youth literacy in Hawaiian and Pacific families and communities, and emerging writers in isolated communities living on the neighbor islands.

PWC fills this need by organizing and facilitating:

• Writing retreats, workshops, seminars, conferences, and residencies;
• Public readings and discussions;
• Writing and reading groups;
• Opportunities for exchange between writers and a wide range of individuals, including artists, scientists, historians, social justice advocates, and other community leaders.
•  Developing programs with an emphasis on strengthening family and youth literacy in partnership with other organizations.
• Partnerships with writers, environmentalists, schools and universities, business, cultural and community organizations in Hawaii and the Pacific.
• Support for Indigenous, environmental, and women's writing initiatives in Hawaii and the Pacific.
• A network of writers, literary activities and journals in Hawaii and the Pacific.
• A website to communicate with writers and program participants.

Organizational Structure and Leadership

The Pacific Writers' Connection is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated under the laws of the State of Hawai'i. Leadership is provided by a Board of Directors and Advisory Committee. The Directors have extensive experience in arts advocacy, community arts development, management of non-profit organisations, environmental protection and advocacy, community awareness programs, writing, business and publishing.

Board of Directors:

Dr. Takiora IngramDr. Takiora Ingram - Born and raised in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, Takiora is a founding DIrector of PWC, and an Indigenous woman writer with extensive international experience in Pacific art history, arts management, and developing programs to support creative writers. As a Board Member of Creative New Zealand’s National Arts Board and Chair of the Pacific Arts Committee for the New Zealand Government (1997-2000), she served in a decision-making role allocating funding for major arts organizations of over $30 million annually. She is a founding Board Member of Ohana Makamae, a holistic family resource center in Hana, Maui, and the Pacific Wave Association (Sydney, Australia). Takiora previously served as a Senior Policy Specialist with the State of Hawai’i assisting with designation of the Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument by President George Bush in June 2006 and subsequent listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. She then served for seven years as Executive Director of the All Islands Coral Reef Committee at NOAA and as Coordinator of the governors Pacific Regional Ocean Partnership. She is a published writer, poet and freelance journalist, and was Cultural Advisor for the Pacific dance program of the WNET/BBC series on The Dance in 1991. Her publications include He’eia Fishpond, (in Language of the Land 2002), Te Mana o te Moana (in Ho'olaul'ea, 2012), Pasifika Dreaming: Positioning Pacific Arts in Sydney’s Arts Landscape (Pacific Arts Association 2004), and the Cook Islands chapter in the World Dictionary of Art and The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: Australia and the Pacific Islands, 1998. She has a Ph.D in Management and Public Policy from Massey University, New Zealand, a Masters degree in Urban & Regional Planning and a B.A. In Anthropology from the University of Hawaii. She was also an East West Center grantee.

Dr. Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamorro from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is an associate professor in the English Department at the University of Hawai'i Manoa, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Eco-Poetty. He is author of three books of poems, and the first Pacific Island author to receive the American Book Award for his book "unincorporated Territory, guma". He organized a panel on "Pacific Eco-Poetics" at the Berkeley Ecopoetics Conference in 2012 and is currently co-editing an anthology on the same topic for University of Hawai'i Press. In 2008 he testified at the United Nations on the environmental impacts of U.S. Militarism in Guam.

 

Maile Meyer is a founding Director of the Pacific Writers’ Connection and owner of Na Mea Hawai’i stores that focus on locally made products with an emphasis on supporting Hawaiian producers. She is also founder of Native Books Inc. focused on the distribution of books about Hawai’i and the Pacific to individuals, corporations, libraries and educators. Native Books also hosts book signings, launches, workshops, readings and talks focusing on Hawai’i and the Pacific. Maile is a founding partner of ‘Ai Pohaku Press, has an M.B.A. in Not-for-profit Arts Management and Marketing from Anderson School, UCLA, and was a Board Member of the UCLA Art Commission. She also holds a B.A. in Graphic Design and Photography from Stanford University and the Leo Holub Photography Award. She is also a Commissioner for the State Commission on the Status of Women; a Board Member of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association; Hale Ku’ai, Native Hawaiian Producers Cooperative; Hawai’i Capital Cultural District; Hawai’i Public Television; Young of Heart Workshop; and Hawai’i Book Publishers’ Association.


Rita Young-Riggs - A long time Hawai’i resident, Rita has served in many volunteer roles, including fund raising for California Child and Family services, and also working for Global Volunteers at a children’s orphanage in Barlard, Romania. Rita attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., and has participated in the Stanford University creative writing program. She has also hosted PWC literary events, including a poetry evening with Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.S. Merwin, creative writing workshops, and participated in poetry readings and book launches. Her short story, "How I Learned to Say Goodbye" was published in "Ho'olaule'a - Celebrating Ten Years of Pacific Writing", 2012.

 

Dr. Brandy Nalani McDougal - Born and raised on Maui, Brandy Nālani McDougall, is of Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi lineages), Chinese and Scottish descent. She is the author of a poetry collection, The Salt-Wind, Ka Makani Paʻakai (Kuleana ʻŌiwi Press 2008), the co-founder of Ala Press and Kahuaomānoa Press, and the co-star of an amplified poetry album, Undercurrent (Hawaiʻi Dub Machine 2011). Her scholarship and poems have been published in journals and anthologies throughout Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. She is a recipient of the Ford Postdoctoral Award and the Mellon-Hawaiʻi Postdoctoral Award.

Advisory Committee:

  • Susan O'Connor, social entrepreneur and arts advocate, former PWC Board member, co-founder of Writers in the Schools Programs in Houston, Texas, and Missoula Writing Collaborative, Appleseed Foundation, Ohana Makamae family resource center and Ala Kukui Hana Retreat Center in Maui.
  • Frank Stewart, Professor of English and Editor, Manoa Journal, University of Hawaii
  • Barbara Pope, Barbara Pope Book Design
  • Dr. Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, Director, Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii
  • Angela B. Franco, Honolulu
  • Deborah Kaercher, San Antonio, Texas
  • Lelei Lelaulu, Washington, D.C.
  • Kirsten Whatley, Kipahulu, Maui
  • Erin Lindbergh, Kipahulu, Maui
  • Dr. Mehana Blaich Vaughan, Hanalei, Kauai
  • Sean Nagamatsu, Honolulu, O'ahu

Contribute

You can help us by becoming a Friend of PWC. Your contribution to our non-profit organization will help to strengthen creative writing programs and nature writing throughout the Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. We welcome your support!

Checks can be made payable to:
Pacific Writers Connection
670 Prospect St. #703 Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

808-781-6147