Saturday, August 1, 2009

Akashic to reprint Naomi Hirahara's A HELL OF A WOMAN story!

Congratulations to Naomi Hirahara, whose "The Chirashi Covenant" (originally published in A Hell of a Woman) has been selected for Akashic's Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics, due out in April 2010.

I asked Naomi to say a few words about writing the story:

I've always been curious about beauty pageants, especially ethnic specific ones (Miss Navajo Nation, Miss Chinatown, etc.). We have one in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo that has existed for more than 70 years. Rather than having female characters in their teens during the actual time of the pageant, I thought it would be interesting to jump forward ten years later. I set "The Chirashi Covenant" six years after the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and during the postwar housing boom of Los Angeles. The hope and excitement of being beauty queens have faded and reality has set in. Most of the 1941 contestants have started to rebuild their lives and recalibrate their dreams, but one refuses to abide by the status quo, which eventually leads to the destruction of her family.

Truthfully, I'm very humbled and even a bit embarrassed to be included in a collection with the likes of Chandler, Cain, Macdonald [Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics]. But when I think about my characters and what they faced and survived, I am truly honored. Thanks to Busted Flush Press, editor Megan Abbott, and A Hell of a Woman for "The Chirashi Covenant" to see the light of day. (Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics only feature short stories that have been published before.)

Naomi Hirahara, born and raised in Southern California, is the Edgar Award-winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series (Summer of the Big Bachi, Gasa-Gasa Girl, Snakeskin Shamisen), which features a Japanese American gardener and atomic-bomb survivor. A previous editor of The Rafu Shimpo newspaper, she also has produced nonfiction books on horticulture and Asian American history. Her short stories are featured in Los Angeles Noir, A Hell of a Woman, and The Darker Mask, while her middle-grade book, 1001 Cranes, was released as a Yearling trade paperback in June of this year. A board member of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, she recently completed the fourth Mas Arai mystery for St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, Blood Hina, which is scheduled to be published in March 2010. Her mystery serial, “Heist in Crown City,” appears bimonthly in Asahi Weekly in Japan. An occasional writing workshop organizer, she currently teaches a bilingual writing class with seniors in a program through Poets & Writers, Inc. and funded through a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. She received her B.A. in international relations from Stanford University. Her web site is


pattinase (abbott) said...

This is great news for a great story.

Donna said...

What great news! It's an excellent story