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This Is Now: Kawai Strong Washburn
April 27, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm PDT
Join Angie Coiro as she interviews the critically acclaimed debut novelist who stunned everyone from former President Obama to Marlon James and Tommy Orange with his extraordinary novel, Sharks in the Time of Saviors.
This groundbreaking book folds the legends of Hawaiian gods into the modern-day struggles of a single working family. A young child, Naiona, falls suddenly from a boat on a rare vacation. After the incident, the 7 year-old boy seems to develop unusual powers that follow him into adulthood and add challenges to already complex relationships between his siblings, who are flung as far as California and Portland. With a heady, golden overlay of belief, myth and magic, plus a challenging backdrop of financial strife and Hawaiian politics, this is fundamentally a human story—in which individuals struggle to develop identity and connection against the weight of challenging surroundings, economic realities, and the slightly supernatural.
“Old myths clash with new realities, love is in a ride or die with grief, faith rubs hard against magic, and comic flips with tragic so much they meld into something new. All told with daredevil lyricism to burn. A ferocious debut.”—MARLON JAMES, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
“So good it hurts and hurts to where it heals. It is revelatory and unputdownable. Washburn is an extraordinarily brilliant new talent.”—TOMMY ORANGE, author of There There
Get to know one of the most exciting new novelists working today for a very special This Is Now conversation with Kawai Strong Washburn.
KAWAI STRONG WASHBURN was born and raised on the Hamakua coast of the Big Island of Hawai‘I. His work has appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, McSweeney’s, and Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, among other outlets. He was a 2015 Tin House Summer Scholar and 2015 Bread Loaf work-study scholar. Formerly a Bay Area writer and frequent visitor to Kepler’s, he now lives with his wife and daughters in Minneapolis.
** Please consider joining with a book purchase or donation to support Kepler’s Literary Foundation programs. **
Photo of Kawai Strong Washburn by Crystal Lieppa.