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Writ Large

The Hawaii Book and Music Festival stretches its wings.


Festival attendees browse the book-swap tent.

Photo: Courtesy of the Hawaii Book and Music Festival

The first Hawaii Book and Music Festival (HBMF) drew 10,000 attendees. The second and third, 20,000 and 30,000, respectively, so this year’s event could easily see 40,000 book lovers. Executive director Roger Jellinek is prepping for the rush by expanding the physical space for the festival, nearly doubling the layout on the grounds of the Honolulu Civic Center. He didn’t, however, have the same worries when it came to content. “A festival of books is about almost everything,” he says. “It’s the entire spectrum of human imagination.”

While many book festivals present the leading authors of a season, HBMF focuses on authors who write about Hawaii or who are from Hawaii; in fact, this year’s theme is “A Sense of Place.” Sixteen venues offer a smorgasbord of ideas and 500 presenters, including HONOLULU Magazine’s editor, A. Kam Napier. Best-selling national authors include Terry Brooks, John Saul, James Rumford and Lois-Ann Yamanaka, as well as local favorites Stuart Coleman and Lisa Linn Kanae.

Jellinek is particularly thrilled to be featuring two well-known pop-up book artists, Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. “They do the most incredible books,” says Jellinek. They’ll do a talk and three demos.

Other highlights include a tribute to the late Ian McMillan (see his short story, “Playing Before Royalty,” which was published in HONOLULU Magazine; storytelling by the likes of Jeff Gere, Kathy “Tita” Collins and Lopaka Kapanui; a keiki tent with children’s activities; and a giant book swap—bring five used books in good condition and trade for five others. You’ll also find cooking demonstrations by cookbook authors, as well as books for sale and author signings.

On the music side, Jake Shimabukuro appears May 16 and Kani Ka Pila on May 17. For the first time, there will be beer and wine available for purchase during the evening concerts. Jellinek also notes a new chorus showcase, with music from some of the Islands’ most in-demand performers, such as the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus and Honolulu Gay Men’s Chorus.

Attending the festival, and parking, are free. You can find a schedule of events at www.hawaiibookandmusicfestival.com

 The Hawaii Book and Music Festival takes place May 16 and 17, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., on the grounds of the Civic Center. Free admission.


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Honolulu Magazine January 2018
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