Winner of the Hawaiʻi Book Publishers Association Ka Palapala Poʻokela Award for Excellence in Literature.
Writing entirely in hip-hop speak or what people in Hawaiʻi refer to as Pidgin, Lee A. Tonouchi takes the language largely associated with Hawaiʻi’s underprivileged youth and attempts to legitimize it in literature. His high-performance readings of his humorous fiction pieces have won Tonouchi a large underground following and the local media has given him the notorious nickname, “Da Pidgin Guerrilla” for his work in starting up his own Pidgin-centered literary magazine, Hybolics.
Tonouchi was named “Best New Face” in the field of literature by HONOLULU Magazine and the “It” writer by The Honolulu Advertiser, the state’s biggest daily. Spreading “Da Word” of Pidgin around, Tonouchi has even been able to win acceptance on the continent with publication credits in ZYZZYVA and The Asian Pacific American Journal, among others.
From HONOLULU Magazine’s 50 Essential Hawai‘i Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime:
“When Lee Tonouchi embraced the movement to stake pidgin’s claim on Hawai‘i literature—as well as to reclaim it from abuse at the hands of non-Island writers—he didn’t go in for half-measures. This 2001 story collection is virtuoso Tonouchi, dealing out comedy and heartbreak in lines that show off how pidgin can be simultaneously spare, recondite and wildly inventive.”
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—Pidgin pieces echo small kid time - Honolulu Star-Bulletin