Birthplace: Ho’olehua, Molokai, Hawaii
Lois-Ann Yamanaka is a Japanese-American writer who grew up in Hawaii. With a unique voice that often uses pidgin English, Yamanaka's novels tackle themes of Asian-American families and local Hawaiian culture. Her novels include Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre (1993), Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers (1996), Blu's Hanging (1997), Heads by Harry (1999), and Father of the Four Passages (2001). In 1998, the Association of Asian American Studies awarded Yamanaka a fiction award for her novel Blu's Hanging. The award was abruptly rescinded, however, and Yamanaka became the center of a widespread controversy that claimed her characterization of an abusive Filipino man was racist. Yamanaka is also the recipient of a 1998 Lannan Literary Award and two Pushcart Prizes. Her latest is Behold the Many: A Novel (2006).