Welina mai! Welcome to my website!
My name is Kamalani, and I am a Native Hawaiian who writes stories for and about Native Hawaiian kids. My name, Kamalani, means “child of heaven” which, in typical native tradition, came to my mom in a dream.
I grew up in the working class neighborhood of Kalihi-Pālama. My rough and tumble kid-time years were spent at Kaʻiulani Elementary School across the street from Kaumakapili Church and Tamashiro Market. My love of history started early when, as a child, I would read the headstones at the cemeteries at Kamoʻiliʻili and Kawaiahaʻo churches where my grand-uncle, John Kilia, was a deacon. I graduated from the Kamehameha Schools and then earned advanced degrees on the continent.
Some things about me:
- Remembering stuff is my super-power. I have a photographic memory, so I think I would be really good at playing Jeopardy.
- I’m pretty good at learning languages, too. I went to Japanese school (Palama Nippongo Gakko) as a kid. I speak pretty fluent Spanish, and I learned a lot of Korean from the K‑dramas I love to watch. But I don’t speak as much Hawaiian as I should.
- The very first story I ever published was about Up with People! in the sixth grade. Later in high school I became the feature co-editor for Ka Mōʻī, the student newspaper.
- I am grateful to Ke Aliʻi Pauahi for allowing this hapa-haole kid to attend Kamehameha. But like many of my generation, I didn’t learn our native language and history until after high school, during the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s.
- I spent many happy years teaching linguistics and business writing to college students and publishing Pūpū A ʻO ʻEwa Native Hawaiian writing and arts website.
- I am a “Professor Emerita.” That means I have college library privileges for life (yay!)
- I am an avid reader and gardener, having inherited my love of books from my father and my green thumb from my mother.
- My family is my husband, our daughters, our grandkids, and two beach-loving dogs along with a bunch of aunts and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews, and we all live on the islands of Oʻahu and Kauaʻi.
I am a member of SCBWI, Writing Barn’s Courage to Create community, and 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge. My agent is the amazing James McGowan, BookEnds Literary Agency.
“Kamalani Hurley and Unspeakable (written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Floyd Cooper),” Picture Books Are for Grownups, Too!, interviewed by Patrice Gopo, April 29, 2023
“How I Got My Agent,” 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, August 16, 2022
“New Client Alert: Kamalani Hurley,” BookEnds Literary Agency, July 11, 2022
“An Interview with Professor Emerita P. Kamalani Hurley,” Writer and blogger Brandi-Ann Uyemura, February 8, 2022
Topic: Is the CTC Right for Me? March 6, 2023. In support of the Writing Barn Courage to Create group.
Courses I’ve Taken
- Candace Fleming, Narrative Nonfiction, The Writing Barn
- Lee Nordling, Writing Graphic Novels and Comics with Intention, Writing Barn
- Heather Montgomery, Beyond Fact-Flinging: Nonfiction and Info Books, The Writing Barn
- Kirsten Larson, Picture Book Nonfiction, The Writing Barn
- Carmen Oliver, Perfecting the Picture Book II, The Writing Barn
- Donna Janell Bowman, Picture Book Biographies
- Rene LaTulippe, Lyrical Lab