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Intellect

Pacific literature topic for Annual Nan Osmond Grass Lecture March 12

Vernice Wineera, poet and former director of the Pacific Institute at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, will present the Anual Nan Osmond Grass Lecture, “Literature as Representative of Cultural Identity: A Pacific Perspective,” sponsored by the BYU English Department, Thursday, March 12, at 11 a.m. in B092 Joseph F. Smith Building.

Wineera will discuss works of contemporary Pacific writers that explore their cultural identities and history. Pacific peoples have a tradition of oral narratives that was lost with colonialism. In the present day, however, a renaissance of Maori and Pacific writers publishing in English has resulted in a rich, vibrant literary genre.

Born in New Zealand of Maori and English descent, Wineera’s heritage is of the Ngati Toa and Ngati Raukawa tribes. She was educated in Australia and New Zealand before earning her bachelor’s degree in English and art from BYU-Hawaii. She received both her master’s and doctoral degrees in American studies from the University of Hawaii.

Her poetry has appeared in books and journals in the United States, New Zealand, India and New Guinea and has earned awards from the Center for the Study of Christian Values in Literature and the South Pacific Festival. A new collection of her poetry “Into the Luminous Tide: Pacific Poems” will be published by BYU in March 2009.

Wineera has served as a vice president of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, and as director of the Pacific Institute at BYU-Hawaii. In this capacity she worked as both producer and scriptwriter for a 10-year series of cultural DVDs for the government of the Kingdom of Tonga.

For more information, contact Jay Fox at (801) 422-8920 or jay_fox@byu.edu.

Writer: Angela Fischer

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