Trinity University Press

Pamela Frierson

Pamela Frierson is the author of The Last Atoll: Exploring Hawai‘is Endangered Ecosystems and The Burning Island: Myth and History in Volcano Country, Hawai‘i, as well as many 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. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including a PEN Hawaii award, grants from the Hawai`i Council on the Humanities, and fellowships from Breadloaf, Squaw Valley, and Island Institute.

Raised in Hawai‘i, she lived for many years in the American West working as a country school teacher in Montana, a backwoods homesteader in Idaho, an apple grower near California’s Eel River, an employee of the Whole Earth Catalog, and was one of the founding publishers of the innovative quarterly Place Magazine. 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 VolcanoShe returned to the Islands two decades ago and lives on the slopes of Mauna Kea, where she grows tropical fruit and works as a freelance writer, photographer, and educator. Her photographs have appeared in several publications, including Wildlife ConservationChristian Science Monitor, and the Los Angeles Times. 

The Burning Island

Westerners—from early missionaries to explorers to present-day artists, scientists, and tourists—have always found volcanoes fascinating and disturbing. Native Hawaiians, in contrast, revere volcanoes as a source of spiritual energy and see the volcano goddess Pele as part of the natural cycle of a continuously procreative cosmos. Volcanoes hold a special place in our curiosity about nature. ...

The Last Atoll

The Last Atoll is Pamela Frierson’s decade-long exploration of the least known part of Hawai‘i—the islands, atolls, and reefs at the far northwestern end of the archipelago. In travels that span over 1,200 miles, Frierson chronicles natural wonders and a troubled history, ending up at Kure Atoll, the most ancient Hawaiian landfall and the northernmost atoll on earth. Hers is an adventurous...

Photo of Pamela Frierson