Winner of the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award for Excellence in Literature
Writing entirely in hip-hop speak or what people in Hawai‘i refer to as Pidgin, Lee A. Tonouchi takes the language largely associated with Hawai‘i's underprivileged youth and attempts to legitimize it in literature. His high-performance readings of his humorous fiction pieces have won Tonouchi a large underground following and the local media has given him the notorious nickname, "Da Pidgin Guerrilla" for his work in starting up his own Pidgin-centered literary magazine, Hybolics.
Tonouchi was named "Best New Face" in the field of literature by HONOLULU Magazine and the "It" writer by The Honolulu Advertiser, the state's biggest daily. Spreading "Da Word" of Pidgin around, Tonouchi has even been able to win acceptance on the continent with publication credits in ZYZZYVA and The Asian Pacific American Journal, among others.
Lee Tonouchi crafts his short stories with an innocence that is simultaneously disturbing and charming. The collection, entitled "da word," is written in pidgin English, which the self-dubbed "Pidgin Guerrilla" has dedicated himself to promoting and preserving. Whether a reader supports his agenda or not is beside the point because for the most part, Tonouchi presents stories that are bittersweet, moving, spirited and funny.
Pidgin pieces echo small kid time - Honolulu Star-Bulletin