Ryka Aoki is a poet, composer, teacher, and novelist. Her latest novel, Light From Uncommon Stars (Tor Books 2021) was an Alex, SCKA, and Otherwise Award winner, and was also a finalist for the Hugo, Locus, and Ignyte Awards.
Ryka is a two-time Lambda Literary Award finalist for her collections Seasonal Velocities, and Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul, and her first novel, He Mele a Hilo, was callled one of the “10 Best Books Set in Hawaii” by Bookriot. She has been recognized by the California State Senate for “extraordinary commitment to the visibility and well-being of Transgender people,” and her work has appeared or been recognized in publications including Vogue, Elle, Bustle, Autostraddle, PopSugar, and Buzzfeed, as well as the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. She was also honored to work with the American Association of Hiroshima Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors, where two of her compositions were adopted as the organization’s “songs of peace.”
Ryka also appears in the recent documentaries “Diagnosing Difference” and “Riot Acts,” as well as writing for and acting in the award-winning film “Transfinite.”
Ryka was the inaugural performer for the first ever Transgender Stage at San Francisco Pride, and has performed in venues including the Sundance Film Festival, San Francisco Pride Main Stage, Barnard College, the National Queer Arts Festival, Yale University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, the University of Iceland, the University of Winnipeg, and Ladyfest South. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is currently a professor of English at Santa Monica College. She is Japanese-American.
She is a two-time Lambda Award finalist, and winner of the Eli Coppola Chapbook Contest, the Corson-Bishop Poetry Prize, and a University Award from the Academy of American Poets.
She is also a professor of English at Santa Monica College, a half-decent pianist, and is starting to learn to play the violin.