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01/06/2021 - 01/26/2021

JFNY Literary Series – Kickoff Event


The Japan Foundation, New York have recently launched JFNY Literary Series. For this new talk series, we will be inviting 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.

As for the kick-off session, we had a conversation with the collective known as Strong Women, Soft Power, formed by renowned translators: Allison Markin Powell, Ginny Tapley Takemori, and Lucy North. They have kindly agreed to participate in this series as curators, and they talked about various writers, including Yu Miri, Sayaka Murata, and Kanako Nishi, among others.


Allison Markin Powell has been awarded grants from English PEN and the NEA, and the 2020 PEN America Translation Prize for The Ten Loves of Nishino by Hiromi Kawakami. Her other translations include works by Osamu Dazai, Kanako Nishi, and Fuminori Nakamura. She was the co-organizer and co-host of the “Translating the Future” conference, served as co-chair of the PEN America Translation Committee and currently represents the committee on PEN’s Board of Trustees, and she maintains the database Japanese Literature in English.

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.

Lucy North is a British translator of Japanese fiction and non-fiction. She has translated over half a dozen modern and contemporary Japanese writers, including Taeko Kono, Fumiko Enchi, Hiroko Oyamada, and Hiromi Kawakami. In 1996 she published Toddler Hunting and Other Stories, still the sole book of fiction in English by Taeko Kono, with New Directions; it was reissued in 2018, and will be published in the UK by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 2021. Lucy’s translation of three stories by Hiromi Kawakami, published as Record of a Night Too Brief with Pushkin Press in 2017, was long-listed for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. Her translations have appeared in Granta, Words Without Borders, and The Southern Review, and in several major anthologies, including the Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature. Her translation of Natsuko Imamura’s The Woman in the Purple Skirt will be published by Penguin Random House and Faber in July 2021. She is also co-translating, with David Boyd, Emi Yagi’s Diary of a Void, which will be published by Penguin Random House and Harvill Secker in the spring of 2022.

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