Aloha, Molokai Literati
The sky opened up on Sunday and brought the rain- and with it a literary scene- to Maunaloa. Hawaiian authors Seeth Miko Trimpert and Katherine Kama`ema`e Smith were in town to talk about their new books and to sign copies for fans. Both Authors were asked about their books, inspiration drawn from the islands, and their future work.
Katherine Kama`ema`e Smith looked as nervous as a schoolgirl on picture day as people assembled in a semi-circle around her at Molokai Ranch Lodge’s great hall in Maunaloa to hear her speak about her historiographical first novel, The Love Remains. The novel is set around the time of Kamehameha’s reign in the second decade of the nineteenth century, and has its major themes rooted in, among other things, family origins and ways of belonging to the land. “The two major components of culture are language and land,” says Smith to a full house, “and here in Hawaii, we are losing our land, so our language, our stories- and really, our stories about land– become ever more important if Hawaii is to maintain its culture.” Smith researched her story for five years, pouring through old newspapers, Hawaiian genealogies, and myriad old stories.
Seeth Miko Trimpert’s book-signing event isn’t as large. This is a surprise; on top of starting just before Smith’s event and being located across the street, Trimpert is officially a prize-winning author- after The Monastery took third place in Foreword Magazine’s book of the year awards (sci-fi category) in 2004- and now has three somewhat popular novels under her belt.
A nomad at heart, all of Trimpert’s novels involve migrancy in some way, with usually a fair slice of amorous content as well. “I come to Molokai for a few months every year from my home in Florida,” muses Trimpert while looking through Big Wind’s selection of Tongan marionettes, “and having time to think and relax is really helpful to me.” Her third novel, Hard Over, is a love story which focuses on a sea departure, and a sequel is already in the works. “Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about water, and I have been quite interested in what your newspaper has published about the public outcry over water usage. I work on a water board in Florida and I can tell you with certainty that a water supply must never be abused, because the fallout from doing so is something that is always bigger than what anyone envisions.”
Look for Trimpert to produce several new books over the next few years.