Naomi Hirahara, Award-Winning Author and South Pasadena High Graduate, Co-Authors “Life After Manzanar”

By Steve Fjeldsted, Library Director

PHOTO: South Pasadena Public Library | | Life after Manzanar Co-Written by South Pasadenan Naomi Hirahara

“Life after Manzanar” is a 2018 book co-written by mystery and nonfiction author Naomi Hirahara, who graduated from South Pasadena High School, and Heather C. Lundquist, an award winning editor, author, and writer of museum scripts. Its perceptive Foreword is written by Dr. Art Hansen, a Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies at Cal State, Fullerton. During his CSUF tenure, he was Founding Director of both the Center for Oral and Public History and its Japanese American Oral History Project.

Heyday Books, the distinguished publisher of “Life After Manzanar,” released five books from 2013 to 2017 that were accorded the California Historical Society Book Award. Almost all of the books published by Heyday are available from the Library collection which also contains dozens of other books by South Pasadena-related authors.

”Life After Manzanar” is called by its publisher Heyday Books “a nuanced account of the ‘Resettlement’: the relatively unexamined period when ordinary people of Japanese ancestry, having been unjustly imprisoned during World War II, were finally released from custody. Given $25 and a one-way bus ticket, some ventured east to start over, while others returned to Southern California only to face discrimination and an alarming scarcity of housing and jobs.“

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The book weaves new and archival oral histories into a narrative that reveals the lives of former internees, both with their struggles and unlikely triumphs. The book is published in collaboration with the Manzanar History Association and serves as a poignant example of the effects of war on a vulnerable, innocent population and the power of the human spirit.

PHOTO: South Pasadena Public Library | | Naomi Hirahara

Naomi Hirahara is a writer of both nonfiction books and mysteries. With Geraldine Knatz, she cowrote “Terminal Island: The Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor,” which won a Bruckman Award for Excellence and an Award of Merit from the Conference of California Historical Societies. Her Edgar Award–winning Mas Arai mysteries have also been published in France, Japan, and Korea. A former editor of the “Rafu Shimpo” newspaper, Naomi also curates historical exhibitions and writes articles and short stories

Heather C. Lindquist is the editor of “Children of Manzanar,” a copublication by Heyday and Manzanar History Association, which received an award of excellence from the Association of Partners for Public Lands in 2013, and she was one of several contributing authors to “Freedom in My Heart: Voices from the United States National Slavery Museum,” published by National Geographic in 2007. She has also written numerous exhibit scripts for museums, visitor centers, and national parks across the country, including the Manzanar National Historic Site; the National Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville, Georgia; and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.