Mieko Kawakami

Japanese novelist

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Biography

Mieko Kawakami is one of the most promising young writers in Japan today. Born in 1976 in the Osaka prefecture, Kawakami started her career as a singer songwriter before making her literary debut with the prose poem, "Sentan de sasuwa sasareruwa soraeewa" in 2006. 

Her first novella My Ego, My Teeth, and the World, published in 2007, was nominated for the Akutagawa Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in Japan, and was awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. 

In the following year, Kawakami published her second novella Breasts and Eggs, which dynamically explores the inner conflicts of an adolescent girl, who refuses to communicate with her mother except through writing. This work won the Akutagawa Prize with enthusiastic support from committee members, including the acclaimed writer Yoko Ogawa. The work sold 250,000 copies and has been translated into Norwegian, Spanish, French, and several Asian languages. 

In 2009, Kawakami published her first full-length novel, Heaven, which won the Ministry of Education's Fine Arts Award for Debut Work, as well as the Murasaki Shikibu Prize. Selling over 250,000 copies, this novel established Kawakami's firmly in contemporary Japanese literature.

Kawakami also published a collection of short stories Dreams of Love, Etc, which won the Tanizaki Jun'ichirĂ´ Prize. Her collection of prose poems "Sentan de sasuwa sasareruwa soraeewa" was awarded the Nakahara Chuya Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes for Japanese poetry.