Kawai Strong Washburn


Magic x Joy x Redemption x Loss x Fury x Myth x Fact x Past x Science x Future


Cisneros x Homer x Kingsolver x Danez x Johnson x Marra x Girmay x Pini



I was born and raised on the Hāmākua coast of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, where I read loads of books, lived breathed slept soccer, played saxophone, and did all sorts of dangerous things on concrete and in the water.



I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a husband and father (two firecracker daughters), and write fiction. I have a side job as a full-time software engineer. I occasionally do somewhat dangerous things on rock faces.


"I think about each thing as I put it back, how someday it's gonna pass through her hands, how her fingers thick and strong but still soft is gonna carry whatever someone else is buying…and all I got now is the stomach-burn feeling of I'm sorry."

‘On the swish and Roar’, Electric Literature


“She closes her eyes and hopes for bravery, but finally it doesn’t matter, the fear; she can’t stop herself, knowing this is her last weekend in Hawai’i. The truck is packed. She’s going direct into the teeth."

‘What the Ocean Eats’, McSweeney’s 47 and Best American Non-required Reading


"Maybe it’s being in the air always that causes it—hurtling over the cloud-filled bottom of the world, thinking I might never touch down—but it’s easy to stop caring...I’ve always thought myself a person that would run into the burning building. And every day I am wrong."

‘Departures, Arrivals’, Barrelhouse Issue 14


"Another ten feet and you’d be picking our teeth out of the radiator screen. The hot waxy stink of your engine, like crayons frying in motor oil, drifts over us. Everyone whoops and claps. You lean out the window on your arm and say, "So what, who’s next?"

‘Tantalus’, Mid-American Review Vol 47 No.1


aloha, hola

hello goodbye.



Represented by Duvall Osteen at Aragi

Likes: Peanut butter, skateboards, surfboards, snowboards, cheeseboards?, gravity (although sometimes I fall down)

Dislikes: Naps, ear wax (we are mortal enemies), airplanes

Yes, I dance hula and surf, but I do both badly.

Photos by Crystal Liepa