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11/29/2021 - 02/28/2022

JFNY Literary Series: Kyoko Nakajima x Ian MacDonald & Ginny Takemori


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JFNY Literary Series invites notable writers in Japanese literature and their translators to discuss their work, speak on the art of translation, and touch upon the current literary scene in Japan.

This session of JFNY Literary Series features renowned Japanese author Kyoko Nakajima and her translator Ian MacDonald and Ginny Takekomori, moderated by David Peace, Allison Markin Powell from the collective Strong Women, Soft Power and interpreter Bethan Jones also join the session. The English translation of Nakajima’s book Things Remembered and Things Forgotten was published in May, 2021.  



Kyoko Nakajima is a bestselling, award-winning novelist. Born in 1964 in Tokyo, she first worked as an editor before her sensational debut in 2003 with the novel Futon, a humorous, modern reworking of a classic Japanese novel by Tayama Katai written a hundred years before.  In 2010, she won the Naoki Prize, Japan’s most prestigious award for popular fiction, with the novel Chiisai ouchi, which Ginny Takemori has translated into English as The Little House (DARF Publishers, 2019). Since then, she has published many other prize-winning novels and collections of short stories, including Tsuma ga shiitake datta koro (When My Wife Was a Shiitake) which won the Izumi Kyōka Literary Prize, Nagai owakare (The Long Goodbye) which won the Chūō Kōrōn Prize for the Arts, and Katazuno! which won both the Kawai Hayao Narrative Award and the Shibata Renzaburō Award. Nakajima has been translated into a variety of languages.  For instance, in addition to English, her novel The Little House has been translated into Chinese, Korean, and French, and in 2014, it was adapted into a movie by the famous director Yamada Yōji.  English translations of her short stories have appeared in Words Without Borders, Granta, and elsewhere, and in May 2021, her collection of these stories entitled Things Remembered Things Forgotten was published. (Sort of Books).

Ian McCullough MacDonald began translating short stories while an undergraduate at Wesleyan University before spending three years in Japan as an English teacher and later earning a doctorate in Japanese literature and art history from Stanford. In 1997 he won the First Shizuoka International Translation Competition, after which he began translating professionally and spent two more years in Japan. Starting in 2002, he translated four titles for the Japanese Literature Publishing Project. His book-length translations include Okamoto Kido’s 1920s classic The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi, Natsuhiko Kyogoku’s gothic horror series A Hundred Tales of Karma, art historian Katsuhiko Takahashi’s The Case of the Sharaku Murders, Akimaro Mori’s Agatha Christie Award-winning mystery The Black Cat Takes a Stroll, as well as several titles by historian Nanami Shiono.

Ginny Tapley Takemori has translated fiction by over a dozen early modern and contemporary Japanese authors. Her translation of Sayaka Murata’s bestselling Convenience Store Woman was awarded the 2020-2021 Lindsley and Masao Miyoshi Prize. Her translations of Kyoko Nakajima’s Naoki prizewinning The Little House was published in 2019, and Sayaka Murata’s Earthlings in 2020. She lives in Japan.

David Peace, named in 2003 as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, was born and brought up in Yorkshire. He is the author of the Red Riding Quartet, GB84, which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, The Damned Utd, Red or Dead, which was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, Patient X, and the Tokyo Trilogy: Tokyo Year Zero, Occupied City and, most recently, Tokyo Redux. He lives in Tokyo and lectures in the Department of Contemporary Literature at the University of Tokyo.


Previous Sessions

JFNY Literary Series: Kickoff Event
JFNY Literary Series: Yu Miri x Morgan Giles
JFNY Literary Series: Sayaka Murata x Ginny Tapley Takemori
JFNY Literary Series: Kanako Nishi x Allison Markin Powell
JFNY Literary Series: Hiroko Oyamada x David Boyd
JFNY Literary Series: Sachiko Kashiwaba x Avery Fischer Udagawa

Watch all the episodes on YouTube.


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