People of the Center

Craig Howes

Center Director and Biography Coeditor

Craig Howes has been the Director of the Center for Biographical Research since 1997, and the editor and coeditor of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly since 1994. As CBR Director, he is also General Editor of the Biography Monograph Series, co-published with the University of Hawai‘i Press. Since 2000, he has served as series scholar and co-producer for the Biography Hawai‘i television documentary series.

His book Voices of the Vietnam POWs: Witnesses to Their Fight (Oxford UP, 2003) was selected as a Choice notable book. He coedited with Miriam Fuchs the collection Teaching Life Writing (2008). for the Modern Language Association’s Options in Teaching Series. He is also the author of short stories, and many essays on life writing, captivity narratives, satire, and nineteenth-century British and American literature.

A former Vice President and President of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, he served from 2005 to 2009 on the Executive Board for the Division of Autobiography, Biography, and Life Writing for the Modern Language Association. He is the list manager for IABA-L, the listserv for life writing scholars sponsored by the International Autobiography and Biography Association.

He teaches courses in life writing, editing, composition, literary theory, poetry, and drama, receiving the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1998. In 2005, he received the Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation Award for Faculty Service to the Community from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. A past president of the Hawai‘i Literary Arts Council, and a former member of the board of Kumu Kahua Theatre, he currently serves on the boards of the Hawaiian Historical Society and Monkey Waterfall Dance Theatre Company. He has numerous stage and television credits as an actor, and was co-producer for the radio program Aloha Shorts, a literature performance show broadcast on Hawai‘i Public Radio.

Cynthia G. Franklin

Biography Coeditor

Cynthia G. Franklin, the coeditor of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly since 2007, has been teaching in the English Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa since receiving her PhD from University of California at Berkeley in 1994. Her publications include Academic Lives: Memoir, Cultural Theory and the University Today and Writing Women’s Communities: The Politics and Poetics of Contemporary Multi-Genre Anthologies.

She has coedited two special issues of Biography—Personal Effects: The Testimonial Uses of Life Writing (2004) with Laura E. Lyons, and Translating Lives (2009) with Miriam Fuchs. Coauthored work with Laura Lyons appears in American Studies, Biography, and Life Writing. In addition, she has published articles and reviews in journals including American Quarterly, American Studies, Biography, The Contemporary Pacific, Hitting Critical Mass, LIT, MELUS, and in books including Diary of a Radical Cancer Warrior: Fighting Cancer and Capitalism at the Cellular Level and This Bridge We Call Home.

She has won both the Frances Davis Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching. At the University of Hawai’i she has been active in the Comparativism and Translation in Literary and Cultural Studies (CTLCS) Research Cluster; on the Coordinating Council for the Center on Disability Studies; and on the International Cultural Studies Program Steering Committee. She also has participated in campus-wide organizations including the UH GMO Education Project, the University Peace Initiative, and PO‘E (People Organizing for Education).

Anna Poletti

Biography Coeditor

Anna Poletti is an associate professor of English at Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and Senior Adjunct Researcher at Monash University, Australia.  She joined the Biography team in 2018. She edited a special issue of Biography on autographics with Gillian Whitlock in 2008.

Anna is the author of Intimate Ephemera: Reading Young Lives in Australian Zine Culture (2008), and coauthor (with Kate Douglas) of Life Narratives and Youth Culture: Representation, Agency and Participation (2016). With Julie Rak, she has coedited Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online (2014). She has published essays in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Life Writing, a/b: Auto/biography Studies, and Continuum. Her recently published research examines the work of Marina Abramović, drag as automedia, and the materiality of genre. Her next book, which explores autobiography and mediation, is forthcoming from New York University Press.

John David Zuern

Biography Coeditor

John David Zuern is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His work focuses on literary criticism and theory, electronic literature, life writing, and rhetoric. His recent publications include an article on the life writing of Louis Althusser in Life Writing (2011), chapters on electronic literature in Reading Moving Letters: Digital Literature in Research and Teaching (2010), and a critical history of the networking company Cisco Systems in the volume Cultural Critique and the Global Corporation (Indiana UP, 2010). He has served as guest editor for a special issue of the journal Biography (Winter 2003) devoted to online life writing.

Paige Rasmussen

Managing Editor

Zoë Sprott

Graduate Assistant


George Simson

Founding Center Director and Biography Editor

George Simson came to the University of Hawai‘i in 1963, with a University of Minnesota PhD, a dissertation on Lytton Strachey, and a passion for exploring, researching, and teaching about the history, theory, and practice of biography. He assembled a group of like-minded colleagues, and

in 1978 brought out the inaugural issue of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, now in its fifth decade of publication. In 1988, the University’s Board of Regents approved the establishment of the Center for Biographical Research, with George as its founding director. Now Professor Emeritus of English, George inaugurated the various structures and core activities for which the Center is still known: besides the journal, publishing the Biography Monograph series; organizing Brown Bag Biography talks; mentoring student and community work in life writing; and hosting international conferences and visiting scholars.

Stanley Schab

Managing Editor Emeritus

Stanley Schab was the managing editor of the Center for Biographical Research for twenty-two years. In this position, he ran every aspect of the journal Biography, which became the most prestigious venue for publication in the field of life writing. He was also responsible for the coordination of the center’s weekly Brown Bag speaker series, in addition to supervising the center’s volunteers and student employees. He retired officially in October 2016.

Anjoli Roy

Previous Managing Editor

Anjoli Roy is a creative writer, editor, and graduate from UH Mānoa’s Department of English.


Former Graduate Assistants

Janet J. Graham

Aiko Yamashiro is the executive director of the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities.

Sam Ikehara was  the Center for Biographical Research’s very first graduate assistant. Supporting the Center’s work during spring and summer 2017, she designed this website, spearheaded the Center’s enlivened social media campaigns and the Biography Brown Bag weekly lecture series, maintained our annual annotated bibliography on works about life writing, and facilitated the procurement of reviews of recently published books on life writing.