7 Reasons to Book It to the Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival

Celebrate books and music at the Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival on Saturday, April 30 through Sunday, May 1.
Photos: Justin Bolle 


Offering an opportunity to stretch your legs, your mind and your soul, if you’re so inclined, this weekend’s Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival kicks off 10 a.m. Saturday at Honolulu Hale and runs through 5 p.m. Sunday. As those who’ve been can attest, this is the place for nonstop, continuous free entertainment—for adults as well as the keiki—with something for everyone. Hula, crime, how to break into writing and publishing, great feats of athleticism, music, wrenching histories, family dramas and more—it’s all there. And it’s all coming to you courtesy of the Islands‘ greatest storytellers, with a heaping mix plate of top Mainland writers whose books have a Hawai‘i connection.


You can see the program, lineup and map here. To get you started, here are seven reasons to come to the Frank Fasi Civic Grounds at Honolulu Hale.


1. It’s Free

Admission and parking are both free. Free! There is food, too, good food. But you will have to pay (a little) for it.


2. Swim Stories

Hawai‘i is surrounded by water, so it makes sense that some of the world’s greatest argonauts come from here: On Sunday at 10 a.m., Julie Checkoway reads from The Three-Year Swim Club, her story of the Maui plantation kid swimmers turned Olympians; also at 10 a.m. Sunday in the Authors Pavilion Makai, Stuart Holmes Coleman talks about his biography of Eddie Aikau; and at noon Sunday David Davis presents Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku, the first comprehensive biography of The Duke.


3. Get Published

Hear how-to tips on writing and how to publish from a New York literary agent, Jeff Kleinman; teacher and writer Constance Hale; and author and our very own HONOLULU Magazine senior editor Don Wallace at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Authors Pavilion Mauka. Whip that manuscript into shape!


4. Shakespeare Wen Go Hawai‘i

The Bard’s influence on the ali‘i and the 19th-century Islands was profound and amusing, and continued through the 20th century. Come hear KCC and UH Mānoa experts Mark Lawhorn, Paul Mitri and Valerie Wayne, as well as the renowned Puakea Nogelmeier, at 1 p.m. Saturday, stay for 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. sessions at the Authors Pavilion Mauka.


SEE ALSO: See the Rare Collection of Shakespeare’s Plays at Kapi‘olani Community College


5. Catch Hawaiian Culture


Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, you can take part in nonstop panels and readings at the Alana Hawaiian Culture Pavilion. Hawai‘i’s famed archaeologist Patrick Kirch talks about his memoir Unearthing the Polynesian Past at noon, then joins Kathy Kawelu, Pūlama Lima and Sara Collins to discuss “Redirecting Hawaiian Archeology.”


6. Singer-Songwriter Contest

Musicians John Cruz, Barry Flanagan and Kenneth Makuakāne will judge our own version of American Idol on the Main Stage at 1 p.m. Saturday.


7. See Kaui Hart Hemmings

The author of The Descendants reads from her YA novel, Juniors—all about teenagers running with the rich Kāhala/Punahou crowd—at the Keiki Stage on Sunday at 2 p.m. We’ve read the book and it’s unputdownable.


Saturday April 30 through Sunday May 1, on the Civic Grounds by Honolulu Hale (City Hall), in Historic Downtown Honolulu, hawaiibookandmusicfestival.com