Discovering Elsewhere

Cover of MANOA's first issue

Created in 1987 in response to President Albert Simone’s call for new journals to be published by the University of Hawai‘i Press, MANOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing will celebrate its twentieth anniversary with the publication of its winter 2008 issue, Enduring War: Stories of What We’ve Learned. Appearing twice a year, MANOA released its first issue in fall 1989 and is now the preeminent journal publishing contemporary literary work from Asia and the Pacific alongside American writing.

It has featured translations and original writing from about two dozen countries and regions, including India, Pakistan, the Russian Far East, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Tibet, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. With its winter issue, it will have published a total of forty volumes, nearly ten thousand pages, and over a thousand contributors. Writers have ranged from Nobel Prize winners and nominees to authors with no previous publications.

The journal has also sponsored book launches, readings, and other events that bring authors and readers together. MANOA participated in the nationwide celebration of the centennial of Korean immigration by producing a volume of Korean and Korean American writing and by sponsoring a public exhibition at the Bishop Museum. In 2005, the journal produced a volume of indigenous writing from French Polynesia and organized book launches in the Tahitian capital of Pape‘ete and in Honolulu.


Last year, the sixtieth anniversary of Partition was marked in part by a launch for MANOA’s summer 2007 issue—Crossing Over: Partition Literature from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—at the American Center of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The event was cosponsored by Zakir Husain College, Delhi University. The U.S. State Department has since purchased reprint rights to the issue and is producing and distributing a South Asia edition of Crossing Over.

For its groundbreaking work, MANOA has been recognized at the local, national, and international levels. The journal has been reviewed and praised in such periodicals as the Japan Times, Manila Chronicle, South China Morning Post, Kyoto Journal, Cambodian Daily, and AsianWeek. It has been featured locally in Ka Wai Ola, newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Hana Hou, the magazine of Hawaiian Airlines.

Works from MANOA’s pages have been selected for reprinting in such national prize anthologies as Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. It has also received two awards for excellence from the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association and an award for design excellence from the Association of American University Presses.


In the beginning…

From the Honolulu magazine archives, now online, is this entry under the heading “1989.”

1989“Most new poetry and fiction appears in literary journals and reviews, the so-called ‘little magazines’ produced by independent or university-affiliated small presses,” writes HONOLULU. The newest little magazine on the block in 1989 was Manoa. It was the brainchild of co-editors Frank Stewart and Robbie Shapard, both faculty members in the English Department at UH Manoa. The inaugural double issue consisted of more than 250 pages of fiction, essays, poems, literary reviews and photography. Manoa has since published 40 volumes, spanning about 8,000 pages, and is still going strong.

Feature on MANOA’s anniversary


Photograph by R. David Beales for MALAMALAMA.

Malamalama, the alumni magazine of the University of Hawai‘i, has a feature on MANOA’s anniversary. Included are a slideshow and an interview with Frank Stewart, the journal’s editor.