Koa Books

Veterans of War
Veterans of Peace

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For Immediate Release
Contact Arnie Kotler, Koa Books,
808-875-7995

April 16, 2007

Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace Receives Special Recognition Award
“As one of the most important books published in 2006”

The Northern California Book Reviewers (NCBR) have awarded Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, edited by Maxine Hong Kingston (Koa Books), a collection of writings by veterans and those affected by wars and violence, a Special Recognition Award in Publishing, calling it “one of the most important books published in 2006.” In addition, Ms. Kingston and Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace will be featured for the entire hour on Bill Moyers’ new PBS series, Bill Moyers’ Journal, on (or about) May 25, 2007.

Since 1993, National Book Award-winner Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey, The Fifth Book of Peace, Hawai‘i One Summer, and other works, has been leading meditation-and-writing workshops for veterans and their families. In 1997, President Bill Clinton presented her with a National Humanities Medal. Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace was published in October 2006 by Koa Books, of Kihei, Maui, which publishes works on social issues, personal transformation, and native cultures. The book is now in its second printing. See www.vetsofwarvetsofpeace.org and www.koabooks.com.

For nearly fifteen years under Maxine Hong Kingston’s guidance, members of the Veterans Writing Group have told, written, and rewritten their stories. As in any good story, the characters change, and these men and women themselves were transformed, ultimately expressing themselves with breathtaking artistry and truth in this epic and timely 614-page work. Forthright in heart and vast in scope, it is the distilled wisdom of warriors and their loved ones. Reading their words, we witness worlds torn being apart, and rebuilt.

Most of the book’s contributors are combat veterans, medics, and others who served in war. Other writers—veterans of the wars at home—include gang members, drug users, and victims of domestic violence, as well as draft resisters, deserters, and peace activists. San Francisco Magazine called this book “the glowing result of a brave experiment.” The Chicago Tribune describes it as “powerful and finely written. …The great range of writers is the key to this book’s tremendous impact. Yet the real marvel of Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace is how powerful and finely written are the pieces by almost everyone, even those (the vast majority) who are non-literary, ordinary people. There are stories in this book you cannot find anywhere else, stories that anyone concerned with war needs to read—and that any young man or woman should read before joining the military.” The authors of this book are donating 80% of their royalties to efforts to rebuild war-torn countries.

The Northern California Book Awards were established in 1981 to honor the work of writers and recognize exceptional service in the field of literature in northern California. The 26th Annual Northern California Book Awards was held Sunday afternoon, April 15, at the San Francisco Main Library.

Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, ed. by Maxine Hong Kingston • Trade Paperback Original $20 • 614 pages • ISBN 9780977333833 • Published by Koa Books, Maui, Hawai‘i

Distributed to the trade by SCB Distributors • Contact Arnie Kotler, arnie@koabooks.com

About Maxine Hong Kingston

Maxine Hong Kingston began writing at the age of nine (“I was in the fourth grade and all of a sudden this poem started coming out of me”). She won her first writing award—a journalism contest at UC Berkeley—when she was sixteen. In 1976 The New York Times praised her first book, The Woman Warrior, comparing it to Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, saying, “It is an investigation of soul . . . Its sources are dream and memory, myth and desire. Its crises are crises of the heart in exile from roots that bind and terrorize it.” At the age of thirty-six, she was a celebrity, winning the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. Other books would follow, and the praise would continue to be unstinting. In 1980, she was named a Living Treasure of Hawai‘i by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i.

In 1991, following a massive fire in the Oakland-Berkeley hills that consumed Maxine’s house and the only copy of her manuscript-in-process, The Fourth Book of Peace, and as the first President Bush was ordering the invasion of Iraq, she began offering writing and meditation workshops for veterans, to help them give voice to their experiences and work toward personal peace. As she’d hoped, the writing became a process of healing and renewal not just for the veterans but also for Maxine. She drew on the experience of these workshops in The Fifth Book of Peace.

In 1997, Maxine Hong Kingston was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Bill Clinton. In March 2003, she was arrested for crossing a police line at the White House as part of a CODEPINK action to protest the Iraq War.

She retired from her career teaching literature and creative writing, mostly at UC Berkeley, where she was known for offering personalized instruction to each student, even in auditorium-sized classes, encouraging “real communication.” She and her husband, actor Earll Kingston, live in Oakland, California. Their son, Joe Kingston, is a musician in Honolulu.

About Koa Books

Koa Books was founded on Maui in 2005 to publish works on progressive politics, personal transformation, and native cultures. Koa’s authors include Maxine Hong Kingston, Robert A. Johnson, Manulani Aluli Meyer, Col. (ret.) Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Lama Surya Das, Sebastian Blanco, and Sulak Sivaraksa. Koa Books are distributed to the trade by SCB Distributors. See www.koabooks.com.