The conference was the very first Native Hawaiian Writers and Literature conference. In addition to the 400+ conference attendees, it attracted over 30 Native Hawaiian published writers who participated in multiple ways including as panelists, performers, workshop presenters and moderators and keynote speakers.
Hosted by “InK” (Indigenous Knowledge), the gathering was held in the Fall of 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. 98% of all presenters were Native Hawaiian and 95% of the attendees were Native Hawaiian, which included high school and university students and faculty. Open to young adults through kupuna (elders), the main events featured writing workshops led by published Native Hawaiian writers. Other events showcased the work of poets, novelists, and short story writers and included keynote addresses, readings, and a round table of writers. There were excellent networking opportunities over the course of the three days. Additionally, there were workshops that gave participants and workshop leaders/experts an opportunity to interact. For the high school students there were a total of six workshops (three topics, two sessions each) including slam poetry, song and poetry. These sessions were taught by accomplished slam poets, composers and poets. All 60 students divided into three groups of 20 to attend the sessions. Students had an opportunity to compose poems and songs in the workshops. For the adults there were four workshops: writing genealogy, writing poetry, writing fiction and playwriting, again taught by accomplished writers in their fields. The workshops were limited to 15 participants and most were filled to capacity. Several Native Hawaiian participants with completed manuscripts and others with sections of manuscripts attended the fiction workshop. Along with hope and inspiration, they were given practical tools by the professional writers and Hawaii book publishers who participated.