Pacific Writers Connection

Programs & Events

The PWC has implemented a range of programs and activities that have supported and fostered writers in Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and the U.S. mainland.

Upcoming Events >

Programs >

- My Hawai‘i Story Project - >

- Writers in the Schools Program- >

- Workshops & Retreats - >

Press Releases >

Past Events >

Upcoming Events

My Hawai'i 2019 Contest

Barry Lopez


My Hawai‘i Story Project ->

Writers in the Schools ->

Workshops & Retreats ->

- My Hawai‘i Story Project -

The My Hawai‘i creative writing contest is open to all middle school students (6-8th grade)
in the state. For 2016, students are invited to submit their best story or poem that addresses
the theme, “Planet at the crossroads”—to align with the 2016 International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress that will be held in Hawai‘i.

2018 My Hawai'i Story winners with sponsors and partners:

Poet Jessica Carpenter

Poet Keali’i MacKenzie

My Hawai'i 2018 Student Winners

2016 My Hawai'i Story winners with sponsors and partners:


- Writers in the Schools Program-

Our Writers in the Schools Program (WISP) continues to excite young writers in several public schools on Oahu. Since 2007, PWC has provided WISP for 4th and 5th grade students, beginning with Halau Lokahi Charter School and Likelike Elementary in 2006. These young students learn and build confidence in their writing, inspired by poetry teacher Laurel Nakanishi, at Palolo Elementary School and Ka Waihona o ka Na'auao Charter School in Nanakuli. This year, 120 students benefitted from this program. An anthology of the students' writing is produced for each school and a public event is held at the end of the writing program where students read their poetry to parents, teachers, friends, and the community. Here are some examples of their poetry. Also see anthologies in the Writers Circle section.

How I Feel When I'm Home
Home is the love of my mom
Hugging me every day
Home is the smell of dad
Making Kailua pig
Home is the sound of snoring at night
Home is the stickiness of my dogs
Home is the smell of vanilla on your hands
Home is the sight of parrots at a temple
By Xander, 4th Grade, Palolo Elementary School

Under the Water
In my imagination I was underneath the water
Conducting shrimp, fish, squid
And they were sitting on chairs
With their flutes, violins and trumpets
It smelled like the ocean
And there were fish and shrimps dancing
To the beautiful music
By Brooklyn, 4th Grade, Ka Waihona o Ka Na'auao Charter School

Partner Schools
Ka Waihona o ka Na'auao Charter School, Nanakuli
Palolo Elementary School, Honolulu

Photos from 2017

Photos from 2016:

writer and students student giving 'shaka'

teacher writing on whiteboard student reading, writer watching

proud student students reading to class

proud student dramatic faced student


- Workshops & Retreats -

Honolulu Writers' Retreat 2018 with Guest Writer Tom Peek

Guest writer Tom Peek leads writers Workshop

Workshop Participants

Tom Peek inspires writers

Hanalei Writers' Retreat 2017 with Guest Writer Barry Lopez

Barry Lopez, Guest Writer

Honolulu Writers' Workshop 2017 with Guest Writer Barry Lopez

Honolulu Writers' Workshop 2016 with Guest Writer Cheryl Strayed

Hanalei Writers' Retreat 2016 with Guest Writer Cheryl Strayed

Hanalei Writers' Retreat 2015 with Guest Writer Allison Hedge Coke

Honolulu Writers' Workshop Participants 2015 with Guest Writer Allison Hedge Coke

Hanalei Writers’ Retreat and Honolulu Writers' Workshop 2016

Our 13th Annual Hanalei Retreat and 10th Honolulu Writers' Workshop, The Story you have to Tell, with Guest Faculty Cheryl Strayed, were again a great success with our Kaua’i and Honolulu writers, and a couple of Maui writers. Cheryl is author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir WILD, and the movie adaptation that was released by Fox Searchlight in 2014.

The two day writing retreat in Hanalei and the one day writing workshop in Honolulu were targeted at fiction and creative non-fiction writers with a focus on generating new work and re-imagining works-in-progress. Cheryl focused on craft and less definable elements of successful prose writing, such as the role of intuition, obsession, disclosure, emotional risk-taking, humor, and inter-weaving of seemingly unrelated elements.

Cheryl is also the author of the bestselling advice essay collection, Tiny Beautiful Things, and the novel Torch. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages around the world. WILD was chosen by Oprah /winfrey as her first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0. Cheryl has an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, the filmmaker Brian Lindstrom and their two children.

Feedback from some of the retreat and workshop participants:

- "Fantastic experience. Cheryl was exquisite, masterful and I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to spend this much time with someone of her caliber".

- "Cheryl was fantastic, accessible, informative"

- "You guys at PWC nail it every time!".

- "Excellent teacher, my all-time favorite."

- "Thanks for welcoming me into the fold, heartily, tenderly. A gorgeous adventure we shared; diving into creativity - talismans, sharks and all".

- "Thanks so much for including me in this special gathering and workshop."

Hanalei Retreat participants take a break from writing!

Press Releases

Past Events


Miss Ulysses from Puka-Puka

Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

Hawai'i Book Launch of Mātini

A Literary Evening with Beth Yahp

Writing on the Wild Side





Gina Barreca - Hanalei Writers' Retreat 2013

PWC’s 10th annual creative writing retreat in Hanalei, Writing Light: How Humor Inspires,
Sustains, and Encourages Your Writing (and Your Life) with Guest Faculty, Gina Barreca,
will be held from January 12-13, 2013. Apologies, the popular retreat is full.

Gina Barreca


Celebrate Reading

PWC, in partnership with the Hawaii Writing Project and others, again cosponsored the Celebrate Reading Festival (CRF) with programs on Maui and Hawai’i. CRF was developed by Executive Director, Lorna Hershinow, to connect generations through conversation and has evolved into Hawaii’s premier writing festival for youth.

Celebrate Reading Festival on Maui was held at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College on April 18, 2012 with the ever popular Slam Poet, Kealoha and guest author readings:

• Gail Tsukiyama, Women of the Silk, Street of A Thousand Blossoms
• Chris McKinney, Tattoo, Mililani Mauka
• Patricia Wood, Lottery
• Wing Tek Lum, Expounding the Doubtful Points
• Sue Cowing, You Will Call Me Drog
• Mark Panek, Big Happiness

Since 2000, the Celebrate Reading - Maui community included teachers, students, librarians, and residents of Maui, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, and Hāna. This program provides the opportunity for intermediate, high school, college students, and Maui County community members to come together to celebrate reading and writing through shared booklists, provided books, guided discussions of selected books, writing workshops, and events that allow participants to meet authors from the booklist.

Mahalo to the Sponsors:

• Mahalo to the Hawaii Council for the Humanities,
• The Hawai‘i Writing Project
• University of Hawai‘i Maui College UHMC Student Government
• Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation (Educating the Heart Grant),
• Sidney Stern Memorial Trust,
• Maui County Library Association,
• University of Hawaii Equity and Diversity Initiative, and
• Hawai‘i Literary Arts Council.

The 4th Big Island Celebrate Reading Festival for readers and writers was held at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea, Hawai’i on April 21, 2012. It was open to all people from grades 6 to college and beyond ,and presented an opportunity for participants to speak with the featured authors:

• Gail Tsukiyama - Women of the Sill and The Street of a Thousand Blossoms
• Kate Elliott - Cold Magi
• Matthew Kaopio - Written in the Sky, Up Among the Stars
• Sue Cowing - You Will Call me Drog
• Mark Panek - Big Happiness
• Cathy Song - Picture Bride and School Figures
• Jon Osorio – storyteller

Mahalo to the Sponsors:

the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust,
Hawai’i Council for the Humanities
Equity and Diversity Initiative,
Hawai’i Literary Arts Council
Lehua Writing Project
Boone and Tamara Morrison
Hawaii Preparatory Academy
and other sponsors.