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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, August 31, 2002

Native Hawaiian writer Darlaine Dudoit mourned

By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer

Darlene Mahealani Dudoit

Friends and colleagues are mourning the loss of Native Hawaiian writer and editor Darlaine Mahealani Dudoit, who was found dead this week, only days before the release of her journal's second edition.

News of Dudoit's death has circulated throughout Hawai'i literary circles since her body was found Wednesday in a Kane'ohe apartment along with the body of her husband, Sanford Kapana, 47. Police have classified the case as a double suicide.

Dudoit, 48, a recipient of the Hawai'i Literary Arts Council's Cades Award for Literature, was best known as editor of 'Oiwi, A Native Hawaiian Journal, which she founded in 1998.

'Oiwi's second edition was released last night, and her associates gathered at the University of Hawai'i Center for Hawaiian Studies for the scheduled celebration "because Mahealani would have wanted it," said Ku'ualoha Ho'omanawanui, Dudoit's close friend and an assistant editor of the journal.

Born and raised in Hawai'i, Dudoit traveled extensively and wrote prose and poetry.

Her work has been published in many journals, including Manoa, Hawai'i Review and Southwest Review.

Her essays have appeared in two Bamboo Ridge publications: "Sister Stew" and "Growing Up Local." Honors include the Academy of American Poets Award, the Intro Prize from the Association of Writing Programs and a place on the USA Today All-USA College Academic First Team.

Her early work appeared in the UH English Department's Manoa Journal. A colleague there, editor Frank Stewart, described her as "the foremost Native Hawaiian writer in the state," while managing editor Pat Matsueda called her "a terrific person who gave of her mind, heart and soul to the journal and the people who worked for it."

Dudoit was a UH doctoral candidate with Kamanawanui, who said Dudoit's primary accomplishment was to give Hawaiians 'Oiwi, which recognized their skills in the literary arts.

"This is her baby," Kamanawanui said. "This is what she wanted for the lahui (nation). We can't let it die."