Announcing Overcup's Spring 2019 title - Liz Prato’s Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawaiʻi

By Rachel Bell
Posted in Overcup Press, on July 24, 2018

Overcup Press will publish our first essay collection in 2019, Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawaiʻi, by Liz Prato of Portland, Oregon. Part of the press’s strategic plan is to increase its number of literary nonfiction releases. Readers can expect the same design and production standards as Overcup’s art, design, epicurean, and travel books.  

Publication date for Prato's Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawaiʻi is set for April 16, 2019. The book explores what it means to be a white tourist in a land that seems to be paradise, but has been formed, and largely destroyed, by white outsiders. Hawaiian history, pop culture, and contemporary affairs are woven with personal narrative in fifteen essays. The collection of essays examines how the tourist ideal of Hawai‘i came to be, and what it “is,” at its core. The book is a highly readable hybrid of the in-depth exploration of narrative journalism combined with the personal exploration of memoir.

In this collection, Prato examines her multi-layered relationship with Hawaiʻi and her soul connection with this group of islands after suffering the loss of her mother, brother, and father. “This collection of essays skillfully blends both cultural and personal histories through the lenses of loss and survival,” says Publisher Patrick McDonald. “After my first reading of Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege I knew I had read something unique. No other writer looks so unflinchingly at their privilege of vacationing in paradise and the underlying history of injustice that has allowed this to happen. It’s an important book for this time in history. Overcup Press is proud to add it to the long tradition of literature about the Hawaiian Islands.”

Prato grew up in Denver, Colorado and spent her teenage years traveling frequently to Hawaiʻi with her family. As the daughter of a mainland real estate developer, her initial impressions of the islands were typically touristic. Over time, she began asking harder questions: Primarily, what does it mean to love a place that has largely been destroyed by a culture you are a part of?

Liz Prato is the author of the short story collection Baby’s on Fire (Press 53, 2015). Her work has appeared in over two dozen literary journals, including Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Rumpus, Baltimore Review, Hawai‘i Pacific Review, Salon, and Subtropics. She is Editor at Large for Forest Avenue Press and teaches at literary festivals across the country. Her information-packed classes help writers connect to the perfect structure for their short stories and essays. Her most popular classes are “Perfect Your First 2 Pages” and “Submit to Lit Journals Like a Pro.” She lives in a house in the woods with her husband, an indie bookseller and writer.

Overcup Press is a small press based in Portland, Oregon, founded in 2010 and distributed by SCB Distributors. Interested booksellers and reviewers can contact us to be put on a media list and request galleys. ISBN 978-1-7326103-0-9