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Acknowledged as Samoa’s first contemporary woman writer, Sia Figiel´s groundbreaking first novel, where we once belonged, won the prestigious 1997 Commonwealth Writers Prize and Best First Book for the South East Asia/South Pacific region. She is the first Pacific Islander to do so.
Her debut was followed by the publication of two other novels, The Girl in the Moon Circle, They Who Do Not Grieve, and a collection of prose poetry, To a Young Artist in Contemplation. Ms. Figiel also released TERENESIA, a collaborative CD of performance poetry with the poet and scholar Dr. Teresia Teaiwa.
Ms. Figiel has traveled extensively, representing Samoa and the Pacific Islands internationally at universities, half-way houses, prisons, Pacific Islands communities, literary conferences and festivals in Hawaii, France, England, Italy, Spain, Colombia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, New Caledonia, and the United States of America along with the eminent Samoan writer Albert Wendt, the Maori writers Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, Keri Hulme, Alan Duff and her mentor, the late Tongan writer and scholar, Dr. Epeli Hau’ofa.
Internationally acclaimed, her work is translated to German, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
A performance poet, Ms. Figiel was the first Pacific Islander to read and perform at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, London. She has held writer in residencies at the East West Center: Pacific Islands Development Program – Center for Pacific Is