Tokyo International Literary Festival brings authors and readers together

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

Authors, editors, publishers and translators gather with book fans this week to celebrate the second Tokyo International Literary Festival, which features 10 days of readings and workshops alongside more than two dozen events at venues ranging from coffee shops to embassies.

Participants who attended the inaugural event last year waxed lyrical about its ability to bring people with a common interest together to discuss current trends in the industry. “I think the interaction at the event has the potential to take root and influence Japanese literature,” Akutagawa Prize-winner Mieko Kawakami told The Nippon Foundation.

The major drawcards of the festival take place toward the end of the week. On Friday night, “Roppongi Literary Night!” features appearances by “Cloud Atlas” author David Mitchell and “A Tale for the Time Being” novelist Ruth Ozeki alongside other prominent names at Academy Hills Tower Hall in Roppongi.

On Saturday, prestigious independent publisher Granta hosts an official Japan launch party at SuperDeluxe in Nishi-Azabu that will feature “Silver Song” novelist Sayaka Murata and acclaimed English writer David Peace, among others.

All sessions will be presented with interpretation in both Japanese and English. In short, there’s absolutely no reason for you to feel left out of the conversation.

Tokyo International Literary Festival. Feb. 28 — March 9 at various locations in Tokyo. Free, but registration is required. For details, see tokyolitfest.com/program_en