Another exciting Hawaiʻi Book & Music Festival!

The Hawaiʻi Book & Music Festival celebrated its 11th year as the archipelago’s premier literary and musical gathering. Thousands attended the free Honolulu gala, held on the weekend of April 30 - May 1. Tom and his wife Catherine Robbins flew over from the Big Island to get the latest scoops on Hawaiʻi’s book and music scene and to meet up with writers and publishers from across the state—including Tom’s new publisher Bess Press, which acquired Daughters of Fire in early 2016.

Mahalo to Roger Jellinek, Amy Hammond, and their team of staff, volunteers, and financial donors who keep this wonderful festival going year after year! See  for a short video about the festival. The full festival schedule is available at Photos below by Catherine Robbins and Tom Peek.


Tom met the whole Bess Press ʻohana at their festival booth, where he also chatted with customers and signed their copies of Daughters of Fire. Here he catches up with Buddy Bess, Founder and Publisher of Bess Press (left photo) and David DeLuca, Bess Press Director of Publishing and Development (right photo). David is also current President of the Hawaiʻi Book Publishers Association and Chair of the 2016 Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival. Earlier this year Bess Press acquired Daughters of Fire from Koa Books (for details see


LEFT PHOTO: Festival founder and Executive Director Roger Jellinek (right) ( with veteran publisher and editor Arnie Kotler (left) (; RIGHT PHOTO: author panel on “Peace through Words and Pictures” with authors (left to right) Maya Soetoro-Ng, Kimo Armitage, and James Rumford.


LEFT PHOTO: Hilo author Mark Panek (right) being congratulated on his Bamboo Ridge Editors’ Choice Award by part of the festival's Big Island contingent (right to left): Mark’s mother Jane Panek, Hilo writer and teacher Randal McEndree, and Christine Reed, co-owner of one of the state’s premier independent bookstores, Basically Books in Hilo ( RIGHT PHOTO: festival headliner Susanna Moore, author of numerous novels and, most recently, her nonfiction history about Hawaiʻi, Paradise of the Pacific.


Among the many musical acts that weekend were stunning performances by Hapa (left) and Keale (right). Reconnecting with Walt Keale ( that weekend was a highpoint for Tom, who during his 2013 US book tour opened one of Keale’s San Francisco Bay Area concerts with a reading from Daughters of Fire.


A special feature of the 2016 festival were seven panel session exploring Buddhism in the islands, moderated by UH Professor Emeritus of Religion George Tanabe (LEFT PHOTO, far left). Next to him is Arnie Kotler (speaking), publisher of numerous Buddhist authors, and Michel Mohr, specialist and translator of Zen texts. RIGHT PHOTO:  Buddhist panel on “Successful Aging” which included renowned dharma teacher and hospice counselor Therese Fitzgerald (speaking) (


LEFT TO RIGHT: Dharma teacher Therese Fitzgerald with Tom’s wife, artist Catherine Robbins (;  renowned Pacific anthropologist Dr. Patrick Kirch discusses his memoir Unearthing the Polynesian Past; Tom stopped by the Sisters in Crime booth to chat with several of its authors, including Honolulu’s prolific crime novelist Laurie Hahan ( For more information on the Sisters of Crime and their torrent of suspense novels see

The next Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival will occur in late April/early May 2017. Mark your calendar now so you don’t miss the fun next year!