Kikuko Tsumura won the 140th Akutagawa Prize for promising new writers of serious fiction for her work “Potos Raimu no Fune” (“The Boat of Lime Pothos”), the selection committee announced Thursday.
In addition, the 140th Naoki Prize, another prestigious literary award for seasoned writers of popular fiction, went to Arata Tendo, 48, for “Itamu Hito” (“Mourners”) and Kenichi Yamamoto, 52, for “Rikyu ni Tazuneyo” (“Ask Rikyu”).
A native of Osaka, Tsumura, 30, is a company employee who wrote in her novel about the everyday life of an underpaid contract employee at a factory and the people around her.
Tsumura, who debuted as a novelist in 2005 when she won the Osamu Dazai Prize, said the award is for “everyone around me.”
Teru Miyamoto, one of the members of the Akutagawa selection committee, said the winning novel describes “without pretense” the lives of women near the bottom of the social pyramid.