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Heaven, Breasts and Eggs: Mieko Kawakami in Conversation

Mieko Kawakami is more than a bestselling, internationally lauded author. She has transformed awareness of, and debate about, feminism in Japan, gracefully weaving between the roles of cultural critic, philosopher, and literary phenom. As The Guardian summarizes, “Kawakami has made her name articulating womanhood in Japan better than any living author.” Most Western audiences were first introduced to her through Breasts and Eggs: a story of three women navigating patriarchy and the lack of reproductive autonomy it inflicts (amongst other things). Heaven, originally written in 2009 and launched in English for the first time this year, explores the experience of adolescence. This is an opportunity to hear from someone Haruki Murakami has said “is always ceaselessly growing and evolving,” and possibly one of the most exciting writers of the 21st century. Kawakami joins Christina Laffin, Associate Professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia, in conversation.

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Participants and Speakers

Mieko Kawakami

MIEKO KAWAKAMI is the author of the internationally best-selling novel, Breasts and Eggs, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and one of Time’s Best 10 Books of 2020. Born in Osaka, Kawakami made her literary debut as a poet in 2006. Her books have been translated into many languages. She has received numerous prestigious literary awards in Japan, including the Akutagawa Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, and the Murasaki Shikibu Prize. Kawakami lives in Tokyo. (JAPAN)

Christina Laffin

CHRISTINA LAFFIN is an Associate Professor in the Department of Asian Studies, and the Canada Research Chair in Premodern Japanese Literature and Culture. Her research interests include: Medieval travel diaries; women’s education and socialization before 1600; poetic practices and waka culture; theories of travel, gender, and autobiography; noh theatre; and comparative approaches to medieval literature.