Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Death of a Master Navigator

At sea with Manny Sikau, Master Navigator
Manny Sikau, a master navigator from Polowat atoll, died last month. He was my friend and mentor and without him, my novel, Brothers of the Fire Star could never have been written. He died unexpectedly after suffering a brain hemorrhage while sleeping. He was only fifty-four.
I learned of his passing just before I left to return to Guam to be the keynote speaker at a meeting of the International Reading Association and teach the writing process to students in the Guam schools. I was excited about seeing him again, about talking story, about sharing with him how thankful I am that he taught me about traditional navigation during my years living and sailing in the islands.
Yesterday I visited the utt, the canoe house where we met and talked and where I learned. They are still making canoes there, still talking story, but Manny is gone and the very heart of our organization, dedicated to keeping alive the secrets of the ancient navigators, has left us.
Building a canoe on Guam: Because logs of the correct size are difficult to find, they use a different method of construction now.

A detail of the complex lashing that hold an outrigger canoe or proa together.

The utt, or canoe house on Guam with newly built proas.

Note: I am now writing a monthly piece for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal. You can read them at

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