Literary Life at HPU

The English program is large enough to host a thriving community of students and small enough for students to meet in an intimate and supportive environment.  ​ 

We host multiple events throughout the year, including student writing contests and readings by local writers. We publish two journals of student work and an international literary magazine, all of which students edit. Each semester, eligible students are invited to become members of the English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta. 

Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta is the honors society for recognizing and promoting academic excellence of students majoring in English or minoring in Writing, Film Studies, or English. 

Information about eligibility can be found here

Writing Contests

The English program holds writing contests in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry open to all HPU undergraduates. Students submit an original poem, essay, or short story under 808 words. Finalists are selected by contest organizers; the winners are chosen by a special guest judge. 

Students are awarded $808 in scholarships, funded by generous donations to the English Program. If you would like to contribute to the scholarship funds, please contact CLA Associate Dean Laurie Leach (, and notify her of which fund you wish to support (e.g., Opitz award). 

The MARK DAVID BAUER AWARD for Fiction was established to honor Mark Bauer who was an English professor at HPU from 1986-2000. The fund for the Mark David Bauer Award for Writing endowment supports the writing awards for fiction and scriptwriting. 

The ANDREW OPITZ AWARD for Nonfiction was established to honor our late colleague Andy Opitz, whose work conveyed humor and joy in the process of cultural critique. Originally awarded for scholarly essays, the fund now sponsors the nonfiction writing award and is supported by generous donations by the Opitz family and friends.  

The JAMES A. VAUGHAN AWARD for Poetry began in 2000 and was established by a generous contribution from Mr. James A. Vaughan, a former student of HPU, who wished to support poetry at HPU and in the community at large. After many years of funding an award for a Hawai'i poet who would give a reading at HPU, the endowment now sponsors the student poetry contest.  

Established in 1998 and now supported by the Mark Bauer Fund, the HPU Short Script Contest awards scholarships to the best short screenplays, plays, TV, radio, or video game scripts (5-20 pages) written by HPU students in both original and adapted categories.  

Mark Bauer was an English professor at HPU from 1986-2000. The fund for the Mark David Bauer Award for Writing endowment supports the writing awards for scriptwriting and fiction. 

The contest is organized by Dr. Mark Tjarks, who teaches courses in scriptwriting and film studies. 


Constance Wright
Brandy McDougall
Dawn Fraser Kawahara
Michael Shapiro
Nalani Scharsh
Clint Frakes
Christy Passion
Susan Soong
Melanie Van der Tuin
Eric Paul Shaffer
Elsha Bohnert
Susan Lee St. John
Cassandra Aoki
John Simonds
Nicholas Becher

Publications and Readings

Hawai`i Pacific Review is the online literary magazine of Hawai`i Pacific University. It features poetry and prose by authors from Hawai`i, the mainland, and around the world. HPR was started as a print annual in 1987. In 2013, it began to publish exclusively online. HPR publishes work on a rolling basis. Poems, stories, and essays are posted one piece at a time, several times a month.

The magazine also functions as a practicum course, in which HPU undergraduates can gain valuable editorial experience. Students may serve as Managing Editors (WRI 3953: 3 credits) or as Staff Members (WRI 3951: 1 credit). Both courses are offered in the fall and spring.

Submissions are accepted here.

Visit our website here.

HPU’s student literary magazine features short stories, nonfiction essays, and poetry by undergraduates from all over the university. All selections are chosen and edited by students who enroll in WRI 3391—a course offered each fall term. In addition to giving students a venue for publishing their own creative work, the magazine gives students an opportunity to gain editorial experience.  

The course is taught by Tyler McMahon during the Fall Semester, with meeting days/times announced late in the prior spring semester.

Visit Wanderlust's online submission manager

Fresh Perspectives is HPU's Anthology of First-Year Writing. Each edition of the journal features outstanding essays nominated by the teachers of students taking classes in HPU's First-Year Writing program, such as WRI 1050, WRI 1100, and WRI 1200. The nominated essays that wind up published are chosen and edited by student intern editors who enroll to get upper-division Writing credits focused on developing academic journal editing skills. The published essays include personal essays, evaluative reviews, hybrid forms that combine personal reflection with research, and, of course, traditional academic research papers, some of which are cited in APA style, others in MLA. Fresh Perspectives also regularly features artwork by HPU students.

The WRI 3930: Fresh Perspectives editing coursework is taught by Dr. David Falgout, who is also the Faculty Editor of the journal. All editions of the journal can be found here.

Started in 1998, the Ko`olau Writers Workshop connects HPU with Hawai`i's vibrant literary community. Accomplished local writers visit our campus to offer readings, workshops, panels, and discussions. We offer a range of events, from intensive one-day events open to the community, to classroom visits. Recent writers include Jessica Machado, Megan Kamalei Kakimoto, Donovan Kuhio Colleps, and many others. 

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