Susan Nunes, short story writer and nationally recognized author of children's literature, was born in 1943 in Hilo, a small town on the eastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. A descendent of an interracial union of Japanese and Portuguese cultures, the source for much of her writing, Nunes resided in Hilo until 1959, when she moved with her family to Honolulu. While in Hawaii, she worked as a writer and editor at the University of Hawaii and published a series of children's books and short stories, along with a collection A Small Obligation and Other Stories of Hilo (1982). In 1991, she moved to Berkeley, California, with her husband and son and now writes full time. She began publishing once more and the Hawaii Book Academy awarded her children's book, To Find the Way, the Ka Palapala Po'okela Award in 1994. The following year, The Smithsonian selected The Last Dragon as one of its “Notable Books for Children.” Nunes has also published several non-fiction pieces in the San Francisco Chronicle and is currently working on a longer project.
Most of Nunes's writing portrays the joys and pains of familial bonds. Discussing the nature of her work, she states, “I think many writers begin with stories about family because families are what we know, and because, when you think about it, families provide a dynamic out of which stories naturally grow” (e-mail). Throughout her writings, she also explores the individual's painful yet necessary search for identity in an environment of geographic and cultural displacement. Reflecting on the journey of her grandmother from Japan to Hawaii, Nunes notes, “When she stepped on board a ship back in 1914 to join her betrothed, my grandfather, she had no idea she'd one day be gazing at a great-grandchild with fair hair and green
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Publication information: Book title: Asian American Short Story Writers: An A-to-Z Guide. Contributors: Guiyou Huang - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 237.
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