You know you've made it as an author when there are week-long conferences dedicated to your work that attract scholars, critics and translators from all over the world and which you, the author, do not feel the need to attend.

In the case of author Haruki Murakami, the international conference that took place in March this year in the city of Newcastle, U.K., is just one of several such gatherings that are planned for the first half of this year. Similar discussions have been scheduled for France (Strasbourg), Philippines (Manila) and Australia (Sydney).

As Aurelie van 't Slot, a Dutch scholar of the phenomenon of Murakami's world-wide celebrity, points out, Murakami's book releases in the Netherlands are now accompanied by "launch cruises" of up to 2,000 people. In Taiwan meanwhile, there is a dedicated "Center for Haruki Murakami Studies," with lectures and readings on Murakami being promoted as a means of learning about Japan in a country where hotels and apartment blocks style themselves "Murakami Heights" and "Norwegian Wood."