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SAIPAN: Most Writers per Square Mile? Yes, we can!

by Walt F.J. Goodridge, assisted by Marlon Regaton, Rosalyn Ajoste, Ray DeLeon Guerrero, Beth Demapan and Lisa Hacskaylo. This article appears here in the Marianas Variety
It must be something in the water or the lagoon's many inspiring shades of "saipan blue!" It may be the documented fact we have "the cleanest air in the United States"--and the effect that may have on creativity. Maybe it's our proximity to the Marianas Trench, and we're pulling deep thoughts from the deepest part of the ocean! Or maybe it's the tropical climate, and that (it's said) we're cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as having "the least fluctuating temperatures in the world." Whatever the reason, we may have one more thing to add to the list of what makes Saipan so special: I suggest to you we may also qualify as having "the most writers per square mile!"
Work with me on this one. From my unique vantage point as a book coach here on Saipan, it occurred to me recently that for such a small island, there are an awful lot of writers churning out books. Now, as you may know, Saipan is approximately 12 miles long by 5.6 miles wide, with a total land area of 44.55 square miles (let's say 45). What if, I thought, Saipan actually has more writers per square mile than any place else on the planet? That would be a feather in our collective cap we could boast about and use to carve out a new type of tourism!
To test my hypothesis, I set off to compile a thorough list! I recruited the help of Marlon Regaton of Bestseller Bookstore, Lisa Hacskaylo of Northern Marianas College, librarian Rosalyn Ajoste, and librarians Ray DeLeon Guerrero and Beth Demapan of the Joeten Kiyu Public Library, and to help create a list of Saipan-based, Saipan-inspired authors who met the following criteria:
1. Author need not be a current resident, but must have been born on or living on Saipan during the authorship (not necessarily publication) of at least one title.
2. Author may reside permanently elsewhere as long as he/she returns to Saipan for inspiration.
3. Books may be independently published and can be on any topic fiction or non-fiction.
A few days of exciting research ensued, and I now present, in alphabetical order, the first iteration of the "Ultimate Saipan Writers List" of individuals who--inspired perhaps by Saipan's sunshine, water, air, history, cultures and lifestyle--turned a passion for sports, cooking, poetry or unique life experience into these timeless literary works!
*= Writer's Workshop attendee or person I've coached on product creation.
Former Governor, Juan N. Babauta: In Retrospect
Kurt Barnes: Sports Legends of Micronesia
Beverly Battaglia (former Tinian resident): (1) A Pictorial History of the Northern Mariana Islands, Part 1; (2) A Pictorial History of the Northern Mariana Islands Part II: The Japanese Era
Manuel Flores Borja and Jose Somorang Roppul: Directory of Traditional Healers and Medicinal Plants in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Joaquin Flores Borja with Manuel Flores Borja and Sandra Chung:Estreyas Marianas Chamorro
Captain Carl Brachear*: How to Become a Professional Handyman
Genevieve S. Cabrera: Historic and Cultural Sites of the CNMI
Marie S. Castro (Miss Soledad): Without A Penny in my Pocket: My Bittersweet Memories Before and After World War II
Dennis Chan: Our Northern Islands: The first expedition to the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument
Bob Coldeen: (1) Bumps in Paradise - Tales from Micronesia and Beyond;
Zaldy Dandan*: (2017)We'll Kiss Like It's Air and We're Running Out of It: Poems & Other Impieties
Justice Jose S. Dela Cruz: From Colonialism to Self-Government: The Northern Marianas Experience
Don Farrel: (1) History of the Northern Mariana Islands; (2) The Sacrifice of Guam, 1919-1943; (3) Guam: A Brief History; (4)The Pictorial History of Guam: Liberation 1944 with Phyllis Koontz
Nancy Bo Flood: (1) Marianas Island Legends: Myth and Magic with Connie J. Adams (Illustrator); (2) From the Mouth of the Monster Eel: Stories from Micronesia with Margo Vitarelli; (3) Micronesian Legends with Beret Strong; (4) No Name Baby; Pacific Island Legends, and others.
Thomas Frank: (1)The Wrecking Crew
John Furey: Island Ecology & Resource Management + 15 contributing authors!
Guy Gabaldon: (1) Saipan Suicide Island; (2) American Betrayed!
Lloyd Glick*: (1) From Bugle Boy to Battleship: a Battle of Saipan Veteran's Memoir as told to Walt Goodridge
Walt F.J. Goodridge: (1) Saipan Living; (2) Doing Business on Saipan; (3) Jamaican on Saipan; (4) Chicken Feathers & Garlic Skin; (5) Saipan Now! (6) How to Become a Nomadpreneur (2017); (7) Turn Your Passion Into Profit; (8) Ducks in a Row; (9) Living True To Your Self; (10) Jamaican in China; (11)The Obama Legacy, (12) The Obama Legacy Timeline; (13) Donald Trump: Let's Look at the Bright Side; (14) Masculinity 2.0; (15) The Man Who Lived Forever; (16) Fit to Breed; (17) A Clean Cell Never Dies, and others.
Arin Greenwood: (1) Tropical Depression; (2) Save the Enemy
Holani: Jihad: Holy War in Paradise
Dr. John B. Joyner*: (1)This Baby Can Speak; (2)This Baby Can Speak (Chinese) with Angie Hui; (3)This Baby Can Speak (Spanish) with Walt F.J. Goodridge
Dr. David Khorram: (1)World Peace, a Blind Wife, and Gecko Tails: Intriguing thoughts from an island on making life happier and healthier, and laughing along the way; (2) Don't Go Blind From Diabetes: An easy to understand guide to keeping your vision for people with diabetes; (3) Medical Procedure Technical Manual
P.F. Kluge: (1) The Master Blaster; (2) The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia (lived on Saipan while writing), and others.
Katrina Manning: (1) Marmalade's Exciting Tale (2) Lupus Obscurus (Children)
Dolores Ichihara Marciano with Rodante Guarda (Illustrator): I kandet Siha Gi Langet
Lino Olopai: The Rope of Tradition
Tony Pellegrino: Shrimp: The Way You Like It (a cookbook with Joe Race)
Bruce M. Petty: Saipan: Oral Histories of the Pacific War
Joe Race: (1) Moon over Manila; (2) Ramblin 'On; (3) Continuin' On and others.
Lynn Raulerson, Agnes Rinehart: Trees and Shrubs of the Northern Mariana Islands
Dr. Elizabeth Rechebei & Sam Mcphetres: History of Palau:Heritage of an Emerging Nation
Riza Oledan-Ramos*: (1) The Boy Who Dreamed to Be With His Parents on Saipan with Rodante Guarda (children); (2) Germ Stopper Boy with Rodante Guarda (children); (3) Drinking Seawater: of storms & survival with Walt Goodridge
Scott Russell: Tiempon I Manmofo'na and others Dave Sablan: A Degree of Success Through Curiosity
Barbara Sher "The Games Lady": (1) Social, Motor and Sensory Games,(2) Home Grown Baby, (3) Extraordinary Play with Ordinary Things, (4)Self-esteem Games, (5) Early Intervention Games and many others! (For parents and children)
Alexander Spoehr: Saipan: Ethnology of a War-Devastated Island William Stewart: (1) Ghost Fleet of the Truk Lagoon: An Account of "Operation Hailstone"; (2) Business reference & investment guide to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands =: Kita Mariana Jichi Renpo bijinesu toshi gaido
Donald M. Topping, Pedro M. Ogo, Bernadita C. Dungca: Chamorro-English Dictionary
First Lady Diann Tudela Torres: A B Ch Yan Mas (Children)
Turtlesong Young Writer's Workshop: Costumes of Micronesia (organized by Kathryn Tutten-Puckett + 10 young writers)
Kathryn Tutten-Puckett, et al.: We Drank Our Tears
Scott Vogt and Laura L. Williams: Common Flora and Fauna of the Mariana Islands
Chun Yu Wang:* Chicken Feathers & Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan with Walt Goodridge
Whispering Palms School Cookbook Committee: International Cookbook(5 Committee members: Lynn Corella, Jill Arenovski, Karen Buettner, Janet McCullough, Heidi Yelin)
Franicia Tomokane White: Count Them with Me; I Know You Love Me, Mommy and Daddy;The Blessings of Visiting Grandma and Grandpa; Healthy ABCs(Children)
Dottie Wintterle with Judy Flores (Illustrations) and Ann Rivera (Translator): Grandma's Love (Children)
At press time:
Jay Sanchez and Epiphanio Cabrera, Henry Sablan, Lynette Villagomez and Bobby Cruz, MHS Art Club's anti-bullying comic book writers! Daisy Demapan, Valentine N. Sengebau, Christy Sakaziro
Honorable Mention: Videoographers and Book Ideas:
Cinta Kaipat:Liewaila: A Micronesian Story "The Carolinians" Video Documentary
Mike Tripp: The Underwater World of Saipan Video
Dan Shorr*: Looking for America Video
Marlon Regaton: Marlon of Bestseller is the idea man behind my own Saipan Now: a photo adventure, and the soon-to-be-published Saipan Carolinian Language Book series
At first blush, we've identified 63 published writers (over 90 with group collaborations/special mentions) with books on sale at Bestseller or online, or available at the public library! Now, let's apply the GLAD Hypothesis & Formula (that would be Goodridge's Land Author Density Hypothesis & Formula in case you weren't paying attention):
GLAD Formula: writers divided by square miles = writers/sq.mile
63/45 = 1.4 writers/sq.mi (OMG!)
It's true! It's official! At just first blush, we're at almost 1.5 writers per square mile! Someone please do the research and let me know if any other US state, territory or commonwealth can boast the same! Internationally, forget what you'll read about Iceland (that one in ten will publish a book)! Don't be swayed by Norway's reputation (of having the best government support for authors). This is a major accomplishment!
However, we can do better! We must do better! If we're to credibly secure this new identity, we need to base it on the square miles of the recognized "inhabited" islands of Saipan/Tinian/Rota (45+39+33=117sq.mi), or even the entire CNMI (~179-185sq.mi)! We can do it! This was just a preliminary search and we know there are others out there!
So, I need your help! No, the CNMI needs your help! Did we miss anyone you know? Find any errors? Add yourself and books you know of at where you can view the growing list (with author bios and links). Email me at, and follow the growth at!
Meanwhile, however, spread the word! Tell your friends: "Saipan: we've got writers for miles!!"


Breaking News from Walt:

A few weeks ago, a former workshop attendee and coaching client revealed that she nominated me to be considered for this year’s Governor’s Humanities Award here on Saipan. I thanked her, but I didn’t really believe I qualified because...(read why at
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