An author with local roots has been named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle 2010 awards. Rahna Reiko Rizzuto’s “Hiroshima in the Morning” is one of five finalists in the autobiography category. Rizzuto is the daughter of well known West Hawaii fishing writer Jim Rizzuto and his late wife, Shirley. Born and raised in Waimea on the Big Island, Rizzuto is a faculty member in the Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program at Goddard College. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her acclaimed first novel, “Why She Left Us,” won an American Book Award in 2000 and was named as one of the Best Books of 1999 by the Honolulu Advertiser. “Why She Left Us” is based on her mother’s story of internment during World War II.
In June, 2001, Rizzuto traveled to Hiroshima in search of a deeper understanding of her own heritage (her mother was Japanese-American). She started interviewing survivors, but felt their stories were routine. But she was there on September 11, 2001. The agony of the World Trade Center horror opened up the survivors’ memories and they revealed themselves to Rizzuto in astonishing ways. “Hiroshima in the Morning” is available through Borders Kona, or online from amazon.com, www.feministpress.org, and other online book sellers.
The National Book Critics Circle was founded by the famed Algonquin Round Table in 1974. The finalists were named Saturday, January 22, in New York City. The awards ceremony will be March 10, 2011, in New York.