Photo: Cynthia Vanderlip

Photo: David Franzen

Pamela Frierson is the author of The Burning Island  and The Last Atoll, and numerous articles and essays about the Pacific world. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including The World Between Waves, A Thousand Leagues of Blue and Intimate Nature. She is one of forty-four writers invited by Barry Lopez to write original work for  Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, featured on NPR’s “Living on Earth” program. In 2012, she received the Hawai`i Elliot Cades Award.

Raised in Hawai’i, she also lived for many years in the American West, working as a country schoolteacher in Montana, a backwoods homesteader in Idaho, an apple grower near California’s Eel River, at the Whole Earth Catalog, and as one of the founders of the innovative quarterly, Place. She has taught at the University of California at Davis and the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, and was founder-director of the writers’ conference: The Fire Within: Writing at the Volcano. She lives on the slopes of Mauna Kea Volcano, growing tropical fruit and working as an essayist and occasional photojournalist. Her photographs have accompanied writing in several publications, including Wildlife Conservation, Christian Science Monitor, and the Los Angeles Times.


  • Foreword Review’s BOTYA Gold Award in Nonfiction/ecology 2012
  • Elliot Cades Award for Established Writer, 2012
  • Residency at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), 2008
  • Residency at Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Taos, New Mexico, 2004
  • Fellowship/ residency at Island Institute, Sitka, Alaska, 2004
  • Residency, Julia and David White Artists Colony, Costa Rica, 2000.
  • Hawai`i Committee on the Humanities research grants, 1999 and 2000.
  • Residency at Montalvo Center for the Arts, California, 1998
  • Residency at Ucross Foundation, Wyoming, 1996
  • Residency at Hedgebrook, 1995
  • PEN Hawaii Lorin Tarr Gill Writing Award in Nonfiction, 1992.
  • William Sloane Fellow in Nonfiction, Breadloaf Writers Conference, 1991

Photo by Penny Knuckles