Monday, April 29, 2013

Naomi Hirahara: Literary Salon 5/5

Join Mystery Readers Norcal for a Literary Salon in Berkeley, CA on Sunday, May 5, 7 p.m. with Award Winning Author Naomi Hirahara, author of the Mas Arai Mystery Series.  

Please leave your email address in comments below for directions and to RSVP.

Summer of the Big Bachi (Bantam/Delta, March 30, 2004) was Naomi's first mystery. The book, a finalist for Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize, was also nominated for a Macavity mystery award. This was followed by Gasa-Gasa GirlSnakeskin Shamisen, the third in the series, was released in May 2006 and won an Edgar Allan Poe award in the category of Best Paperback Original. The fourth Mas Arai mystery, Blood Hina, was published in hardcover March 2010 by St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne Books. Trade paperback and new ebook version will be released later in 2013 by Prospect Park Books, the publisher of the fifth installment, Strawberry Yellow has just been published. Hirahara has short stories published in a number of anthologies, including Los Angeles Noir (Akashic, May 2007), A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir (Busted Flush Press, December 2007), and The Darker Mask (TOR, January 2008). Naomi's new mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, featuring a 22-year-old LAPD bicycle cop, will be released in 2014.

In the summer of 2008 her first middle-grade book, 1001 Cranes, was released by Random House's Delacorte imprint in hardback and came out as a Yearling trade paperback in June 2009. It was recognized with an Honorable Mention award in Youth Literature by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association.

She edited Green Makers: Japanese American Gardeners in Southern California (2000), published by the Southern California Gardeners' Federation and partially funded by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. She also authored two biographies for the Japanese American National Museum, An American Son: The Story of George Aratani, Founder of Mikasa and Kenwood (2000) and A Taste for Strawberries: The Independent Journey of Nisei Farmer Manabi Hirasaki (2003). She also compiled a reference book, Distinguished Asian American Business Leaders (2003), for Greenwood Press and with Dr. Gwenn M. Jensen co-authored the book, Silent Scars of Healing Hands: Oral Histories of Japanese American Doctors in World War II Detention Camps (2004) for the Japanese American Medical Association. Under her own small press, Midori Books, she has created a book for the Southern California Flower Growers, Inc., A Scent of Flowers: The History of the Southern California Flower Market (2004). Other upcoming Midori Books projects include Fighting Spirit: Judo in Southern California, 1930-1941 (co-authored by Ansho Mas Uchima and Larry Akira Kobayashi, 2006). 

Naomi Hirahara was born in Pasadena, California. Her father, Isamu (known as "Sam"), was also born in California, but was taken to Hiroshima, Japan, as an infant. He was only miles away from the epicenter of the atomic-bombing in 1945, yet survived. Naomi's mother, Mayumi, or "May," was born in Hiroshima and lost her father in the blast. Shortly after the end of World War II, Sam returned to California and eventually established himself in the gardening and landscaping trade in the Los Angeles area. After Sam married May in Hiroshima in 1960, the couple made their new home in Altadena and then South Pasadena, where Naomi and her younger brother Jimmy grew up and attended secondary school.

Naomi received her bachelor's degree in international relations from Stanford University and studied at the Inter-University Center for Advanced Japanese Language Studies in Tokyo. She also spent three months as a volunteer work camper in Ghana, West Africa.

She was a reporter and editor of The Rafu Shimpo during the culmination of the redress and reparations movement for Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes during World War II. During her tenure as editor, the newspaper published a highly-acclaimed inter-ethnic relations series after the L.A. riots.

Naomi left the newspaper in 1996 to serve as a Milton Center Fellow in creative writing at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas.

After returning to Southern California in 1997, she began to edit, publish, and write books.


Jim Guigli said...

Jim Guigli

Amy Pabalan said...

I would love to join you all.

Amy Pabalan