Moloka'i Island Times
Monday, February 7, 2006
By Chris Vandercook
Senator J. Kalani English (D-Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i, and Kaho'olawe) today issued a Senate proclamation in honor of author Patricia Grace, who has celebrated her Maori heritage through literature for more than thirty years.
"It is a special privilege to honor a woman who has done so much to share the culture of the Pacific islands with readers all over the world, " Sen. English said today. "Patricia Grace is widely recognized for her contributions to contemporary world literature." Ms. Grace is in Hawai'i to take part in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa English Department's Distinguished Visiting Scholar Program. She was honored as Aotearoa/New Zealand's "living legend" in 2005.
Patricia Grace has scheduled two public appearances in Honolulu this week. On Wednesday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m. she will conduct an evening reading at the UH-Mānoa Art Auditorium. On Thursday, February 9, 3:00-4:30 p.m., she will conduct a panel discussion on the topic: "Indigenizing the Novel in Aotearoa: The Role of Culture and Identity at the U.H.-Mānoa's Kuykendall Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public.
Ms. Grace is of Ngati Toa, Ngati Raukawa and Te Ati Awa descent. In a series of novels, short stories and children's books, she has passed along her unique knowledge of her Maori/Pakeha cultural heritage She published the first collection of short stories by a Maori woman writer. Since 1978, she has written six award-winning novels including: Mutuwhenua (1978), Potiki (1986), Cousins (1992), Baby No-eyes (1998), Dogside Story (2001), and Tu (2004). She has also published five short-story collections and several children's books both in English and Maori.
Her writings have received prestigious awards including the New Zealand Book Awards in 1987 for fiction, the Scholarship in Letters Award in 1988, an Honorary Doctorate from Victoria University in 1989, and the Deutz Medal for Fiction at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2005 for her most recent novel, Tu.
"Authors like Ms. Grace have done so much to enhance worldwide understanding of the people of the Pacific islands," Sen. English said. "Literature helps us all appreciate one another's humanity; we are pleased to be able to honor such an accomplished voice of her culture."
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