After returning from Mauna Kea book launch events in the Twin Cities and in Honolulu, I immediately did readings and signings on Hawaiʻi Island—in Hilo, Kona, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and Volcano Village. These lively events provided numerous opportunities for me to interact with a wide range of Big Islanders and island visitors—including fiction readers, fans of my previous novel Daughters of Fire, former writing students, and island residents long connected to Mauna Kea—as well as to sell books!

Read on to see photos of these events and some of the people I met there . . . and for some other news, including my recent Zoom meeting with students at Pacific University in Portland and the season’s first snowfall on Mauna Kea!

Photos by Catherine Robbins or Tom Peek unless otherwise credited

Tom discussing his new novel at Basically Books in Hilo on Saturday, October 28 (photo by Stacy Reed).

Big Island book tour begins at Hilo’s oldest bookstore

The first of my Big Island events—one day after returning from Oʻahu—was at Basically Books in downtown Hilo, one of Hawaiʻi’s oldest independent bookstores, with its rich collection of local literature, Hawaiʻi-themed books, and island music, maps, and other Hawaiiana. These include carefully vetted books that illuminate Hawaiʻi’s rich and diverse culture, complex history, and deep Native Hawaiian roots. Among them are a number of previously out-of-print classics published by the bookstore’s longtime publishing arm, Petroglyph Press.

It was a sunny, hot Sunday afternoon in Hilo on October 28th and we gathered in the breezy air next to the building. Among those who attended were several of my former writing students, two now published authors: Hilo poet Leomi L. Bergknut, whose potent pigeon verse has been published by Bamboo Ridge Press and in other cross-cultural literary journals, and Mountain View memoirist Donna Barr, author of the 2022 Samoa Peace Corps memoir My View from the House by the Sea.

Tom signing a copy of “Mauna Kea” for longtime Hilo poet Leomi L. Bergknut.

Tom with Mountain View memoirist Donna Barr, author of “My View from the House by the Sea” (photo by Stacy Reed).