Literary series features new works from local writers

WCC English professor Robert Barclay will discuss his web series Like Maddah as well as read from his recent novel Bastards in the Wilderness – Courtesy of Robert Barclay

Writing and film, poetry that paints with words. Out Loud in the Library! presents two acclaimed literary artists in a series of readings and screenings at WCC’s Hale La‘akea Library Learning Commons. The events are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, March 11, WCC English professor, award-winning novelist, screenwriter and publisher Robert Barclay reads from his recent novel Bastards in the Wilderness. He will also present and discuss the pilot episode of his web series Like Maddah. The event is from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

According to Barclay, Bastards in the Wilderness is about a bunch of self-absorbed and big-dreaming bastards trying and failing at life in the fictional town of Vista.

“If I wanted to be all English teacher about it, I’d say the novel is a meta-fictional and tragicomic satire of humanity’s quixotic battle with mortality and how this leads to an ironic and evolutionary impulse toward self-destruction,” he said.

Like Maddah is the pilot episode of a comedic web series that Barclay produced with his wife about three generations of iron-willed local Japanese women. The protagonist is a child psychologist who can fix everybody’s family problems but her own.

Barclay finished both projects during a sabbatical last fall and will continue writing another novel and shooting more episodes this summer.

In addition to these projects and teaching at the college, Barclay owns and operates Lō‘ihi Press and is the editor of WCC’s Pueo Press literary and art journal.

Two of his Lō‘ihi Press novels were featured in Honolulu Magazine’s “50 Essential Hawai‘i Books,” and his novel, Melal, is in pre-production as a feature film. The pilot episode of Like Maddah premiered at Hawai‘i International Film Festival last fall.

On Wednesday, April 29, acclaimed poet and writer Cathy Song reads from her recent collection of short fiction, All the Love in the World, which will be released by Bamboo Ridge Press this spring. Her reading is from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

“It is always interesting when an artist who has devoted a lot of her creative energy to one genre decides to write in another,” Out Loud in the Library! coordinator and WCC English instructor Susan St. John said about Song. “Poetry is a compressed form; that is, a line of poetry can contain multitudes and layers of meaning. I’m looking forward to hearing how a poet might approach a longer narrative–how she might fold image and poetry into a story.”

Song is the author of five collections of poetry, including Picture Bride, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Her poetry has been anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry and The Norton Anthology of American Literature.

Among her other awards are The Hawai’i Award for Literature, The Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Pushcart Prize. She divides her time between O‘ahu and Hawai’i island.

Out Loud in the Library! is a literary and music event celebrating the rich intersection of words and music by local artists meant to inspire and encourage students to find their own creative voice through writing, reading, poetry, music, spoken word and the visual arts.

“I love listening to writers read and talk about their work and process,” St. John said about the series. “It’s a source of inspiration.”

For more information, contact Susan St. John at 236-9226 or

by Ka ‘Ohana, News Staff