Celebrating Pacific Islander Literature with Kundiman

Ballroom 1, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 5
Thursday, March 9, 2023
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


Pacific Islander literature has a rich history, abundant with poetic styles and oral storytelling traditions, exploring sustainability, imperialism, climate change, decolonization, and so much more. It is vital to discussions of American literature to read and honor the work of Pacific Islanders. Join Kundiman for a reading and conversation encompassing the multiple genres our featured authors write in, and celebrating the breadth of Pacific Islander literature today. This event will be livestreamed. ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided.



William Nuʻutupu Giles is an afakasi Samoan writer and arts educator from Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. They have performed poetry on stages across North America including the San Francisco Opera House, John F. Kennedy Center, and Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre. Will has facilitated poetry workshops across Oceania in Papua New Guinea, Guåhan, and Aotearoa. They were featured in the HBO documentary Russell Simmons Presents: Brave New Voices, where they helped the Hawaiʻi team win its first International Poetry Slam Championship. Will is also the first Pacific Islander to win the National Underground Poetry Individual Competition. Will’s work has been featured by NBC News, The National Parks Service, HBO, Bustle, LitHub, and Button Poetry. At home they have spent the last ten years working with Youth Speaks Hawaiʻi, giving back to the organization and community that helped them develop a voice.

Kristiana Kahakauwila is a hapa writer of kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian), German and Norwegian descent. Her first book, This is Paradise: Stories (Hogarth 2013), takes as its heart the people and landscapes of contemporary Hawai'i and was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her middle-grade novel Clairboyance is due out from HarperCollins in 2024 and she is at work on a historical novel set on the island of Maui. A former magazine editor with Highlights for Children and Wine Spectator, Kristiana has more recently published essays and short fiction in Red Ink, Hunger Mountain, and GEO International, among others. Kristiana earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. She was a 2015–16 Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study and is an associate professor in the department of English at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She also teaches in the low-residency MFA at the Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

Craig Santos Perez is a Chamoru from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the co-editor of six anthologies and the author of five books of poetry and a scholarly monograph. He is a professor in the English department at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center