Kaui Hart Hemmings ’94
2016 Samuel Chapman Armstrong Humanitarian Awardee
By Erin Teruya ’93 Kinney
When filmmaker Alexander Payne asked The New York Times best-selling author Kaui Hart Hemmings ’94 who she thought should play the lead character for the film adaptation of her 2007 novel, “The Descendants,” she replied, “George Clooney,” and then slightly embarrassed about her answer, added “or whoever.”
Turns out, George Clooney would be cast as Matt King. The 2011 film was a success with critics – winning the Academy Award for Best Writing/ Adapted Screenplay, as well as two Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture – Drama and Best Actor – Drama for Clooney.
Moving past the success and limelight of “The Descendants,” Hemmings has written three additional novels, including the most recent “How to Party with an Infant,” which was published in August 2016.
In 2012, Hemmings was also selected as one of five delegates from the University of Iowa to represent American authors in Shanghai. She was also awarded a residency at the Dora Maar House in Menerbes, France, in 2013 through the Museum of Fine Arts Houston – Brown Foundation Fellows program.
She has written articles in O, The Oprah Magazine; Sunset magazine; The New York Times; and The Guardian, and has been a lecturer at Google, the Hawai‘i International Film Festival, the Eurofilm Society, the Aloha Writers Conference on Maui, Stanford University, Colorado College and various Hawai‘i high schools, including Punahou.