Kaui Hart Hemmings, the author of "The Descendants," will be one of the writers featured Jan. 18 to 21 during the Aloha Writers Conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, the conference announced Wednesday.
Hemmings' novel about a kamaaina family struggling to cope with a mother in a coma after a boating accident was turned in to a major motion picture starring George Clooney and directed by Alexander Payne. The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one.
Other Hawaii writers scheduled to be featured at the conference include Rebecca Walker, Hokulani Holt and slam poet Kealoha, named Hawaii's first poet laureate by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Visiting writers in the lineup are Jacquelyn Mitchard, whose novel, "The Deep End of the Ocean," was the first book in the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, along with courtroom drama author William Bernhardt, popular thriller writer John Lescroart and screenwriter Diane Lake, a screenwriter for "Frida," which won two Academy Awards.
The Aloha Writers Conference attracts agents, editors and publishers from some of the country's top literary agencies and publishing houses, according to the announcement. Aspiring writers will have the opportunity to sit in one-on-one "pitch sessions" and present their manuscript ideas.
The Aloha Writers Retreat will follow the conference from Jan. 22 to 27 at the Pioneer Inn in Lahaina. There, aspiring authors can work under established writers.
Workshops will be divided into private groups of seven or less. Attendees will focus on how to shape and present marketable manuscripts in fiction, creative nonfiction, screenplays and children's literature. Attendance at the conference is not a prerequisite for attending the retreat.
The conference and retreat are hosted by Keiki O Ka Aina Family Learning Centers, a Native Hawaiian nonprofit with a focus on literacy. All conference proceeds will support the centers' free programs.
The conference is offering a limited number of partial scholarships for both the conference and the retreat. There also are day passes for Maui residents.
On Jan. 20, the conference includes a venue for public schoolteachers to gain two professional development credits at no cost through a partnership between the conference and the University of Hawaii Maui College.
The conference is sponsoring a writers' contest with a $500 prize. The conference will run a silent auction on eBay beginning Dec. 9.
For those signing up before Jan. 1, the cost of the conference only is $720; for the retreat only, $1,020; and for both, $1,740.