Lois-Ann Yamanaka



Lois-Ann Yamanaka is the author of SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE PAHALA THEATRE, WILD MEAT AND THE BULLY BURGERS, and BLU’S HANGING. She is the winner of a 1998 Lannan Literacy Award and the 1998 Asian American Literary Award, and lives in Honolulu with her husband and son. Her latest novel is HEADS BY HARRY (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).Dennis Y. Ginoza recently spoke with Ms. Yamanaka in Seattle where she was scheduled to do a reading from HEADS BY HARRY. Ms. Yamanaka’s answers are presented here in RealMedia 5.0 format (non-streaming). To listen to these files, you will need the free RealPlayer software.While garnering much praise, Ms. Yamanaka’s work has also been roundly condemned, especially by Filipino American scholars. Click here to read more about the controversy surrounding her writing (and a review of her work).

Listen to Ms. Yamanaka read an excerpt from HEADS BY HARRY- yamanakaexcerpt


Q&A with Lois-Ann Yamanaka

1- You started writing when you were 27. What drew you to writing fiction? yamanaka1

2- Growing up, what authors did you read? yamanaka2

3- Who are you reading now? yamanaka3

4- Do you see HEADS BY HARRY as darker than your previous work? yamanaka4

5- “Local” culture is often viewed as monolithic. Yet, even though I was born and raised in Hawaii, alot of the elements in your novel were unfamiliar to me. Do you see regional differences in Local culture, variations from island to island? yamanaka5

6- What interests you in the tension between rural Hawaii and urban Hawaii? yamanaka6

7- You’ve traveled extensively to promote your book. After seeing so many different places, has your view of Hawaii changed? yamanaka7

8- Your characters endure alot of troubles in HEADS BY HARRY, yet they seem to retain a sort of essential innocence. Do you see your characters as innocents? yamanaka8

9- How do you find the voices of your characters? yamanaka9

10- Pidgin English as a political act? yamanaka10

11- Your characters seem torn between a craving for white culture and a simultaneous rejection of it. Why? yamanaka11

12- Do you think the publishing industry is more receptive to novels like HEADS BY HARRY? If so, why? yamanaka12

13- What similarities do you see between Mainland Asian-American writers and those from Hawaii? Is there commonality between the two? yamanaka13

14- Why are you so interested in Father-Daughter relationships? yamanaka14

15- You write less about the relationships between Mother and Daughter. Why? yamanaka15

16- You’ve received alot of attention and acclaim. Do you feel any special responsibility or obligation when you write? yamanaka16

17- What role did shame play in the controversy surrounding your work? yamanaka17

18- What role do you see for an artist in today’s society? yamanaka18

19- Why do you write? yamanaka19

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