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.
“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
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