Kyoko Nakajima with Ginny Tapley Takemori
Join us at Japan Now 2019, as Kyōko Nakajima launches her first novel in English translation, The Little House, alongside her translator.
Set in the early years of the Shōwa era (1926–89), and combining the nostalgic memories of a maidservant Taki, with the nation confronting the brutal realities of the era to come, the novel is beautifully rendered into English by Ginny Tapley Takemori, bestselling translator of Sayaka Murata (Convenience Store Woman).
Join them in conversation with chair Peggy Hughes, Programme Director of the National Centre for Writing.
Part of Japan Now 2019. Programmed by Modern Culture in partnership with the Japan Foundation and Sheffield University.
Supported by Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Japan Society. Part of Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-20.
About the speakers
Kyōko Nakajima loved books from a young age, which is perhaps no surprise given that her parents are both translators and scholars of French literature. In 2003 Nakajima found a publisher for her debut work, Futon, a novel based on the modern classic of the same title by Katai Tayama. She won the Naoki Prize in 2010 for Chiisai ouchi (The Little House), the Izumi Kyōka Prize in 2014 for Tsuma ga shiitake datta koro (When My Wife Was a Shiitake), and in 2015 took both the Chuo Koron Literary Prize for Nagai owakare (A Long Goodbye) and the Shibata Renzaburō Award for Katazuno! (One Horn!), her first historical novel. Other works in her oeuvre include Itō no koi (Itō’s Love), which takes inspiration from the 19th-century British travel writer Isabella Bird; Heisei dai-kazoku (One Big Family in the Heisei Era), about a modern-day family of eight spread over four generations; and the pastiche Pasutīsu: Otona no Arisu to Sangatsu Usagi no ochakai (Pastis: A Grown-Up Alice and the March Hare Have Tea). A serious writer well grounded in literary history, Nakajima is also a master of style and technique who never lets the reader’s attention flag.
Ginny Tapley Takemori lives in rural Japan and has translated fiction by more than a dozen early modern and contemporary Japanese writers, ranging from such early literary giants as Izumi Kyoka and Okamoto Kido to contemporary bestsellers Ryu Murakami and Miyabe Miyuki. Her short fiction translations have appeared in Granta, Freeman’s, Words Without Borders, and a number of anthologies. Of her book translations, Tomiko Inui’s The Secret of the Blue Glass was shortlisted for the Marsh Award, and Sayaka Murata’s Akutagawa prizewinning novel Convenience Store Woman was included on a number of best books of 2018 lists, not least by the New Yorker, and was named Foyle’s Book of the Year 2018.