Gary Pak

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Gary Pak (born 1952) is a writer, editor and professor of English at University of Hawaii.[1] Pak has been noted as one of the most important Asian Hawaiian writers.[2]


Gary Pak was born and raised in Hawaii. Pak graduated from Boston University with a BA and from University of Hawaii with an MA and a PhD. Growing up in Hawaii, Pak said his first language is Pidgin English. "My culture is from Hawaii; my parents’ and grandparents’ generations helped create that culture", he said during an interview with the Magazine of the University of Hawaii.[3]

Some of Pak's novels are based on the true stories from his family. His grandparents fled from Korea during World War II and came to the United States; in 1905, his grandmother worked on a sugarcane plantation at Hawaii. His novel A Ricepaper Airplane is based on an incident related with his mum in the setting of a sugarcane plantation. In his short story collection Language of the Geckos and Other Stories, Pak's memorable portraits of Hawai'i's Korean Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Native Hawaiians increases cross-cultural understanding of Hawaiian life and culture.

Pak was also the producer, play writer and editor of the Olelo Community TV series, Plantation Children: 2nd-generation Koreans in Hawai'i.

Pak was a recipient of Fulbright Fellow.

Selected works[edit]

Short stories[edit]

  • "Hae Soon’s Song", appeared in New Press’ anthology
  • "Crossing Into America: The New Literature of Immigration"


  • The Watcher of Waipuna, Bamboo Ridge Press, 1992[4]
  • A Ricepaper Airplane, University of Hawaii Press, 1998[5]
  • Children of a Fireland, University of Hawaii Press, 2004
  • Language of the Geckos and Other Stories, University of Washington Press, 2005[6]


  • Beyond the Falls (children's play)
  • Plantation Children: 2nd-generation Koreans in Hawaii (TV series)

Selected awards[edit]

  • 1992 Elliot Cades Award for The Watcher of Waipuna
  • 2004 Honorable Mention in the Association for Asian American Studies' Book Award in Prose and Poetry for Children of a Fireland[7]


  1. ^ Pak's faculty profile
  2. ^ Gary Pak: Language of the Geckos and Other Stories
  3. ^ Local and Korean roots nourish UH writer Gary Pak
  4. ^ amazon book: The Watcher of Waipuna
  5. ^ amazon book: A Ricepaper Airplane
  6. ^ Language of the Geckos: And Other Stories (The Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies)
  7. ^ Oh, Seiwoong (2007). Encyclopedia of Asian-American literature. New York: Facts On File. p. 237. ISBN 978-0816060863.

External links[edit]