Returning facilitators for 2018: Rahna Reiko Rizzuto and Elena Georgiou. Special guests and far-flung collaborators to come! If you join us at Pele’s Fire, you will have the chance to work with both of us, but you will be focusing on your manuscript with just one of us, according to your preference and your genre.  So please take some time to get to know us here, especially if you haven’t worked with us before. (Please note that we are offering manuscript consultations for poets, hybrid writers, fiction, nonfiction and memoir.)

We look forward to meeting you and getting to know who you are as a writer and creator!

Rahna Reiko Rizzuto

Reiko is thrilled to facilitate a space for writers in the place she calls home. Born and raised in Hawaii, she grew up on the Big Island in a time when cowboys still rode their horses into town to get the mail, when there was still such a thing as a hitching post (both to secure the horses and also the restaurant), and when it was still possible for an adolescent to wander off into the pastures behind her house and write bad poetry under a waterfall. Reiko is the author of three books, with one more in the works. She has been teaching, in workshops and at the MFA level, for more than a decade. She is on the faculty of the MFA for Creative Writing at Goddard College, where she also serves as advisor to the literary journal, CLOCKHOUSE. She is also a Hedgebrook alumna, where she has taught Master Classes and at the Vortext salon.

As a mentor, reader and teacher, Reiko will help you deepen the urgency and heart in your work, and tease out the surprises and idiosyncrasies that are unique to your story and your voice. She is interested in structure, and in memory, and in the use of historical research in fiction and creative nonfiction. She is also interested in truth-telling, and the transformative power of writing. “We are the stories we tell,” she often says, and in telling our truths, we can literally change the world.

As for her own writing, Reiko is excited to announce her upcoming novel Shadow Child, “a haunting and suspenseful literary tale set in 1970s New York City and World War II-era Japan, about three strong women, the dangerous ties of family and identity, and the long shadow our histories can cast” coming from Grand Central Publishing in May 2018. She is also the author of the memoir, Hiroshima in the Morning, which is a National Book Critics Circle Finalist, an Asian American Literary Award Finalist, a Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nominee, and the winner of the Grub Street National Book Award. It has been called, “stunning…transcendent and beautiful,” and a “masterful collage about Hiroshima [and] 9/11” by these judges. Her first novel, Why She Left Us, which was praised by the New York Times as “ambitious, lyrical, and intriguing,” won an American Book Award in 2000. It also received a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award Honorable Mention and was named one of the best books of the year by the Honolulu Advertiser. She is also a recipient of the U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Reiko has been a guest on television and radio internationally, including appearances on The Today Show, 20/20 News, The View, The Joy Behar Show, MSNBC-TV and PBS-TV, Oprah Radio, CBC Radio and NPR. She was interviewed for a documentary about love and has been featured in print and Internet media as well, including Yahoo Shine, Grazia (UK), The Globe and Mail (Canada). Her articles on Hiroshima and the effects of radiation have appeared in more than thirty newspapers from here to India, through the Progressive Media Project, including The Progressive, Newsday, The San Jose Mercury News, The St. Petersburg Times, and The Providence Journal. She writes for Salon.com and is a featured Huffington Post blogger, and her essays and stories have appeared in the L.A. Times the Guardian UK, CNN Opinion, the Crab Creek Review, New York Family Magazine, the anthologies Mothers Who Think, Because I Said So, Topography of War, and Alchemy of the Word: Writers Talk About Writing, among others. She was Associate Editor of The NuyorAsian Anthology: Asian American Writings About New York City, which was a Pen Open Book Honoree. She has served as a judge for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction and the Asian American Literary Award, and also on the U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship Selection Committee and the New York State Council for the Arts Literature Panel.

Reiko is mixed-race: Japanese/Caucasian. She was the first woman to graduate from Columbia College with a BA in Astrophysics, and she highly recommends a trip to the observatories on Mauna Kea, where she spent one summer sitting in the nest of the Canada France Hawaii telescope taking pictures of the stars.

Read what other writers are saying about working with Reiko here.

WORK WITH REIKO on your fiction, memoir, and creative nonfiction. She particularly likes brainstorming about the shape and possibilities of full manuscript drafts.

Reiko's website @r3reiko Facebook

Elena Georgiou

Elena Georgiou is a writer, teacher, editor, and lover of islands: First there was the British Isles (age 0 to 27), then there was Cyprus, the birthplace of her parents (two weeks, every other year). After that there was also a brief stint on Manna-hata. (Two years in a dorm room). And somewhere in the middle, there was six weeks in Sri Lanka where she once sat on a roadside, watching an elephant carry Buddha’s tooth in a golden casket. And now she is about to add the Big Island to her list of island journeys, where she is hoping to get a view of what is at the Earth’s core by becoming a flame inside a lantern floating in the central pacific.

Elena has published two poetry collections: mercy mercy me, and Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrant. In 2016, she will add to her poetry books with the forthcoming collection of short stories, The Immigrant’s Refrigerator.

Elena takes significant time away from islands by secreting herself in a tiny house in a tiny village 900 feet up a mountain in a landlocked state. Inside, she has a shelf on which you will find various keepsakes: a Lambda Literary Award, an Astraea Emerging Writer Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts Award, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellowship, and copies of BOMB, Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, Gargoyle, Lumina, MiPoesia, and Spoon River Review, and a number of other journals in which her work has appeared.

On another shelf, you will find the anthology The World Within Us that she coedited with Michael Lassell, and next to that some of the glitter leftover from her time as one of the organizers and participants in the The Jezebelle/GlamLit Tour, in which a trio of women tried to save literature from its middlebrowness, by adding leopardskin prints to their wardrobe and DIYing their own Punk-y, Glam-y, Feminist, 16-city international—she went to Canada!—book tour. Elena teaches (and is currently the acting Program Director) in the Goddard College MFA in Creative Writing Program.

As a teacher and mentor, Elena works with students in many different genres. Whatever your project, she will encourage you to mine the details of the world you are exploring, with a view to deepening your work by creating vibrant imagery and delving into the places where risk bubbles up to the surface of the page.

WORK WITH ELENA on your fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry, and hybrid forms.

Elena's Blog