Meet the New Molokai Authors
Molokai has eight new, published authors with their book “Ho’ohui Maika’i: an Anthology.” The work is a collection of Molokai women’s stories told through the context of food, culture and identity.
Funded through a grant from the Hawaii Council for the Humanities and organized by the Krause Family Foundation – ‘Alana Ke Aloha, the book is the result of writing workshops held throughout the past year. The stories range from memories of grandparents cooking, to funny family dinners, to poems and more.
The title, “Ho’ohui Maika’i,” means “good combination.” The work focuses on the diverse cultural make-up of Molokai families, and how this diversity is experienced and demonstrated through food practices. As stated in the introduction to the book, the authors are “Molokai women on our journeys to knowing ourselves.”
The new authors had a chance to speak about their stories and experiences writing, as well as sign copies of their book, at a meet the authors event last weekend at the Store House Courtyard in Kaunakakai.
Lisa Takata, one of the authors, explained that growing up on Molokai meant exposure to cultures other than just your own.
“There weren’t any lines drawn between us culture-wise…it’s a real melting pot,” said Takata. “This [book] is a great way to share our stories and keep the culture of Molokai alive.”
Julie Ann Puailihau, one of the project organizers as well as an author, explained that “on this island that we live on, we were raised with cousins that were Filipino, cousins that were Japanese, cousins that were haole. It’s not like anyone was different. We’re just family…and everybody loves to eat.”
Besides stories about food, the anthology contains family recipes, serving as a cookbook as well.
“To have this connection between culture and food is so strong…if you don’t have food then there is no gathering,” explained Genevieve Correa, one of the authors.
The act of writing itself was deeply impactful for the authors.
Correa explained that she never envisioned herself as an author but was seized by an opportunity to write and share from “more of my heart and my gut and my na’au…which is what made this project so cool.”
“I like writing because it helps me to concentrate on what is important in life,” explained Laura Kealaiki, another contributing author.
“Ho’ohui Maika’i: an Anthology” can be purchased on Amazon or store.bookbaby.com/book/hoohui-maikai-an-anthology, and will soon be available at the Molokai Public Library and Molokai History Project.