Rahna Reiko Rizzuto

My goal is to help you deepen the urgency and heart in your work, and to tease out the surprises and idiosyncrasies that are unique to your story and your voice.  On the logical side of my brain, I am interested in structure and memory, and in the use of historical research in fiction and creative nonfiction. On the intuitive side, I enjoy connecting the mind and body through dance and movement workshops, regularly tapping into the subconscious muse with Tarot and meditation. I believe in truth-telling, and in the transformative power of writing. As I often say, “We are the stories we tell,” and in telling our truths, we can literally change the world.

How I began: What inspires us to write?  Beyond bad poetry scribbled beside the waterfall behind my house when I was a teenager, my writing began with a secret: My discovery (at the age of 30) that my Japanese-American mother and her family had been stripped of their citizenship and imprisoned in their own country during World War II. Our family never talked about it; I never learned about it in school; and that enormous gap in our national history was the beginning of my own exploration of war, race, and historical blindness. Writing allows me to explore who I am as a person; who we are as societies, culture, adversaries and friends; and how we make up our stories – and remake them – every time they are told.

Working with writers: We start with what you want, what you need and how you work.  We can dive into mechanics and craft and analyze every word to see how it works, or we can brainstorm and let questions, answers and possibilities bubble up.  Whether you are just getting started, or trying to feel your way through the dark forest, or trying to shape and polish a draft, my goal is your vision realized and your voice raised.


Personalized Tarot Readings for Writers


Manuscript Development and review


Individualized Mentoring


Dance, Movement and Embodiment Sessions


Generative Workshops


Small Group Intensives

(c) Loba Wakinyan Azul

“Working with Reiko is a gift. It’s extraordinary to be read so deeply by someone with such reserves of empathy, insight, and intellect. She has offered me a process, a vision, and a path to get there. Most extraordinary, Reiko excels at engaging both the macro and the micro levels of a project. She has asked tough questions to help me decide how to shape my manuscript, while at the same time, with just a few edits, she has often enabled me to finish prose poems and short nonfiction that long evaded completion. I trust Reiko with my deepest self, my most vulnerable work. I can’t imagine a more gifted or generous reader.” Elizabeth Frost, author of All of Us, The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry and others

“Having Reiko’s eyes and energy on my work has been a relief for my weary writer spirit.  She swoops her purple pen across my page in the best of ways, showing me the strengths while pointing and tugging at what might have been a hidden focus of a piece.  More than an editor or writing coach I think of Reiko as a trusted intermediary, a magical translator of sorts—consistently connecting me with my work while helping me see where it’s going.  She’s a steady compass/GPS with heart, intuition and understanding.  In a wise, gentle way, I can count on her to ask the difficult, unexpected questions that lead to the breakthroughs.  To both my writing and my process, her caring insight has proven invaluable.”  – Regina Tingle

Work With Reiko

Reiko offers individual Tarot Readings, Coaching Sessions, and Manuscript Development and Review. You will also find her name popping up in our generative workshops and an occasional small group intensive. Check out the WRITE WITH US tab in the menu for sessions you can sign up for today.  If you are interested in individual mentoring, first take a look at the descriptions of our coaching and manuscript services in the drop down menu above to find out what to expect and decide which process is right for you. Then come back to the Personal page for the mentor of your choice and Send Her A Message in the contact form at the bottom of her page. Each of our mentors will work with you to customize your plan to your project, schedule and needs. Each is available on a limited basis, depending on her own writing schedule. We look forward to hearing from you!


Shadow Child

“National Book Critics Circle finalist Rizzuto blends historical fiction and mystery into a haunting examination of identity and family in this perfect book club choice.” (Library Journal, Starred Review)

Hiroshima in the Morning

“The many avenues of Hiroshima in the Morning–explorations of history, of culture, of family, of self–ebb and flow to deliver a stunning portrait of survival. Rizzuto’s writing is lyrical and moving, transcendent and beautiful, yet it constructs a robust narrative that does not succumb to the gravity of the world events that inform it.” (Rigoberto González, National Book Critics Circle Judge)

Why She Left Us

“A ferocious first novel…Bold and disciplined. Rizzuto’s talent for creating vivid scenes, for getting inside strong emotions, for writing with great power, is unmistakable.” (Newsday)

About Reiko

Rahna Reiko Rizzuto’s three books include Shadow Child, a mystery/family/saga/historical novel set in Hawaii, New York and Japan; her memoir, Hiroshima in the Morning, which moves from the original “Ground Zero” to its echo, the 9/11 terrorist attacks; and her first novel, Why She Left Us, about the Japanese American incarceration camps. (See above.) She was also Associate Editor of The NuyorAsian Anthology: Asian American Writings About New York City.

Her awards and recognitions include an American Book Award, Grub Street National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Finalist, Asian American Literary Award Finalist, Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nominee, among others. She is a recipient of the U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.  She has been interviewed widely on motherhood including on The Today Show20/20, and The View. Reiko’s articles on motherhood, Hiroshima, the Japanese incarceration camps and radiation poisoning have been published globally, including in the L.A. TimesGuardian UKCNN Opinion, and Salon, and through the Progressive Media Project and The Huffington Post, and have been anthologized in Mothers Who ThinkBecause I Said So, Topography of War, and Alchemy of the Word, among others. She was a judge for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction in 2015. Reiko has mentored creative writers in a variety of settings: she was a Professor in the Goddard College Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing for 17 years; the founder of the Pele’s Fire writing retreat in Hawaii; has been a guest artist for Writing on Water; and, as a Hedgebrook alumna, she has taught master classes and at Vortext. She is “hapa” (mixed Japanese/Caucasian) and was raised in Hawaii.

I am available for a limited number of coaching mentorships and manuscript consultations. If you are interested in working with me, send me a note about your goals and project to see if we would be a good fit.

Send Reiko A Message