The Gardener Did It

Speaker Series (Lecture, Q&A and Book Signing)
Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Mystery writer Naomi Hirahara discusses the role of the Japanese American gardener in not only her own personal life and her Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai series, but also the landscape of America. In this presentation, she will share images of Japanese immigrants working as gardeners and landscapers as early as the 1900s. Her own father, who worked as a gardener in Southern California, has served as the inspiration for her Mas Arai series, which ended with its seventh and final book, HIROSHIMA BOY, and was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2019.

Naomi Hirahara is the Edgar Award-winning author of two mystery series set in Southern California. Her Mas Arai series, which features a Hiroshima survivor and gardener, ended with the publication of HIROSHIMA BOY in 2018. The books have been translated into Japanese, Korean and French. The first in her Officer Ellie Rush bicycle cop mystery series received the T. Jefferson Parker Mystery Award. She has also published noir short stories, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction history books. Her new mystery set in Hawai’i, ICED IN PARADISE, has just been released September 2019. For more information, go to

Author: Naomi Hirahara

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