Jack London Society symposium on Kaua’i will recall famous author’s visit in 1915

The Kauai Historical Society is co-sponsoring a symposium for the Jack London Society from Thursday, October 10 Saturday, October 12 at the Radisson Kauai Beach Hotel. This is the Jack London Society’s sixth Biennial Symposium and the first time they have held it in Hawai’i.

The conference begins Thursday, Oct. 10 and will feature discussions of London’s fictional writings about Kaua’i and the Hawaiian Islands. Optional events will be a Friday night lu’au at the Waimea Plantation cottages and a Saturday picnic and heiau tour at Lydgate Park at Wailua.

This is the Jack London Society’s sixth Biennial Symposium and the first time they have held it in Hawai’i. The event is being based at the Radisson Kauai Beach Hotel.

The event is significant that Kaua’i is hosting the event, said Mary Requilman, the executive director of the Kaua’i Historical Society, since Jack London visited Kauai in 1915 and wrote the famous fictional account of Ko’olau, the Westside paniolo who fled with his wife Pi’ilani and their young son to Kalalau Valley rather than be sent alone to the leper colony at Kaulapapa on Moloka’i.

Requilman said visits to Kaua’i by London scholars Jeanne Reesman and Earle Labor in the late 1990s, and their discovery of undocumented fact in the KHS archives about London prompted the decision to hold the symposium here with the Kauai Historiocal Society co-hosting the two day conference.

The two days of the conference featuring speakers on various aspects of London’s writing and life are being opened to Kaua’i residents at a special kama’ainna rate of $20 per day, with a special rate for seniors available.

Speakers scheduled to discuss London and his visit to Kaua’i in 1915 include John Lydgate, former president of the Kauai Historical Society with “Reminiscences of Jack London and the Lydgate Family, 1915.” Lydgate is the grandson of the Rev. John Lydgate who served as host to London during his three-day visit to Kaua’i. London stayed in the Lydgate home, compared literay notes with Lydgate, signed the family’s guest book and was written up in The Garden Island in an interview conducted by Lydgate.

Author and Hawaiian language expert Frances Frazier of Lihu’e is scheduled to discuss her translation of Pi’ilani’s account of her and her family’s time in Kalalau.

Chris Cook, editor of The Garden Island will discuss the search for movie footage of London shot during London’s visit to Kaua’i, and talk about London’s connections to Kaua’i.

The conference schedule and registration form can be located at the Jack London Society’s Web site: sunsite.Berkeley.edu/London/Organizations.

For more information call the Kauai Historical Society at 808-245-3373.

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