Hawaiian literature has its origins in Polynesian mythology. It was originally preserved and expanded solely through oral traditions, as the ancient Hawaiians never developed a writing system. Written literature in the Hawaiian language and literary works in other languages by authors resident in Hawaii did not appear until the nineteenth century, when the arrival of American missionaries introduced the English language, the Latin alphabet, and Western notions of composition to the kingdom.
The earliest compilations of traditional Hawaiian writing were made by John Papa ʻĪʻī, Samuel Kamakau, Kepelino Keauokalani, and David Malo. They were succeeded by King Kalākaua, Martha Beckwith, Abraham Fornander, and William Drake Westervelt, all of whom produced later collections retelling or adapting Hawaii's oral histories.
Other noted authors whose works feature Hawaiian settings and themes, or who were temporarily resident in Hawaii, include Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jack London. Detective novelist Earl Derr Biggers is remembered chiefly for his books set in early twentieth century Honolulu, whose protagonist is Chinese-Hawaiian detective Charlie Chan.
Hawaiian literature in the latter half of the twentieth century was characterized by both rapid growth and an increasing emphasis on realism, sometimes influenced by the Second Hawaiian Renaissance and the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.
- Lilith Affairs
- Robert Barclay, author of Hawaii Smiles
- Alan Brennert, author of Moloka'i and Honolulu
- Eric Chock
- Kiana Davenport
- Gavan Daws
- Darlaine Mahealani Dudoit
- Glen Grant
- Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of The Descendants
- George Kahumoku, Jr.
- Matthew Kaopio
- Nora Okja Keller
- Maxine Hong Kingston
- Juliet Kono
- Ralph Simpson Kuykendall
- George Parsons Lathrop, journalist, poet
- Darrell H. Y. Lum
- Wing Tek Lum
- Terence McKenna
- Chris McKinney, author of Boi No Good
- Ian MacMillan, author of The Red Wind
- Rodney Morales
- Milton Murayama
- Ingrid Naiman
- Barack Obama
- Gary Pak
- Mark Panek, author of Hawai'i: A Novel
- Tim Parise
- Mary Kawena Pukui
- Shawna Yang Ryan
- Eric Paul Shaffer
- Noenoe Silva
- Tara Bray Smith
- Cathy Song
- Kirby Wright
- Lois-Ann Yamanaka
- Claudia D. Zawa, author of Filipino Vampire
List of magazines
- Bamboo Ridge
- Hana Hou!
- Hawaii Business Magazine
- Hinduism Today Magazine
- Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine
- SMART Magazine
- Dudoit, Mahealani (1999). "Against Extinction: A Legacy of Native Hawaiian Resistance Literature" (PDF). Department of Sociology, University of Hawaii. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Bushnell, Oswald (1993). The Gifts of Civilization: Germs and Genocide in Hawaiʻi. University of Hawaii Press. p. 39. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Forsythe, Robert (March 1935). "Herman Melville in Honolulu". The New England Quarterly. pp. 99–105. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Mark Twain (1997). Edgar Marquess Branch, ed. Mark Twain's Letters: 1872–1873. Volume 5. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-20822-3.
- Staff report (June 20, 2012). "Historic Robert Louis Stevenson grass hut restored in Manoa". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- London, Charmian (September 1917). "Jack London and Hawaii". Mills & Boon. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Gregorich, Barbara (March–April 2000). "Earl Derr Biggers: A brief life of a popular author". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Sumida, Stephen (1991). And the View from the Shore: Literary Traditions of Hawaiʻi. University of Washington Press. p. 238. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
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