Author and Poet Mieko Kawakami in conversation with Author Roland Kelts
Saturday, October 17 from 9:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.
With this year’s English-language publication of her award-winning novel Breasts and Eggs, Mieko Kawakami has been welcomed as one of Japan’s premier new literary voices. Her fiction has won praise from Haruki Murakami and Yoko Ogawa, and she was recently the subject of glowing profiles in the New York Times and the Guardian. Kawakami’s storytelling voice is sui generis, blending the colloquial, offhand insights of diaries and blogs with rich flights of poetic and metaphorical prose.
At this event she joins Japanese American author and editor Roland Kelts for a special one-on-one conversation at International House of Japan. The two will discuss Breasts and Eggs, her roots in Osaka, and her exquisite short stories —some of which have been translated into English and published in the English-language literary journal, Monkey Business, whose newly revived version, Monkey, debuts this month. Monkey founding editor, scholar and translator, Motoyuki Shibata, will introduce their conversation. Interpreter Hitomi Yoshio is an associate professor at Waseda University who has translated many of Kawakami’s short stories, poems and essays into English.
About Mieko Kawakami
Born in Osaka prefecture, Mieko Kawakami made her literary debut as a poet in 2006. Her first novella, My Ego, My Teeth, and the World, published in 2007, was awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. The following year, Kawakami published Breasts and Eggs as a novella and won Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize. In 2016, she was selected as one of the Granta Best of Young Japanese Novelists. Kawakami is also the author of the novels Heaven, The Night Belongs to Lovers, and the newly expanded Breasts and Eggs, her first novel to be published in English. It was published in the United States in April 2020, subsequently in England, Germany and Italy, and will be published in more than 20 countries.
About Roland Kelts
Author Roland Kelts is a half-Japanese Tokyo-based writer, editor, and scholar specializing in Japanese culture. His acclaimed first book, Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US, is considered the ultimate guide to Japan’s pop culture juggernaut. His expertise has led to speeches on Japanese culture at universities, embassies, think tanks, pop culture conventions, private events, and guest presentations for TED Talks and the World Economic Forum. Kelts has written for the New Yorker, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and the BBC, among others, and has taught at New York University and the University of Tokyo. He was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and is now a visiting professor at Waseda University. He is also a contributing editor of the Japanese literary magazine Monkey, and has toured in the US with Mieko Kawakami and Motoyuki Shibata.
About Motoyuki Shibata
Motoyuki Shibata translates American literature and runs the Japanese literary journal Monkey. Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, he has translated Paul Auster, Rebecca Brown, Stuart Dybek, Laird Hunt, and Steven Millhauser, among others. His new translation of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a bestseller in Japan in 2018. He has launched the new English version of Monkey, of which the first issue will come out this month.
To register, please visit I-House Japan’s website.