Three women win Akutagawa, Naoki literary awards

Kyodo

Three women were named winners of the nation’s twice-yearly top literary awards.

The Akutagawa Prize, for up-and-coming writers, went to Hiroko Oyamada, 30, for her novel “Ana” (“Hole”), the selection committees said Thursday.

The other award, the Naoki Prize, given for popular literature, went to Makate Asai, 54, for her novel “Renka” (“Love Poem”) and Kaoruko Himeno, 55, for her story “Showa no Inu” (“Dog in the Era of Showa”).

In “Ana,” Oyamada, a native of the city of Hiroshima, conveys “fantasy in a realistic setting” by narrating the everyday life of a housewife who, after moving next door to her in-laws, falls into a hole, according to committee member and author Hiromi Kawakami.

Asai’s “Renka” is a historical novel that describes the stormy life of poet Utako Nakajima, who worked chiefly in the late 19th century. A native of Osaka Prefecture, Asai debuted in 2008.

Himeno, who comes from Shiga Prefecture and who debuted in 1990, was nominated for the prize for the fifth time. Her autobiographical novel “Showa no Inu” depicts the life of a girl growing up in a stifling family environment with her pet dog.

The award ceremony for the prizes will be held in Tokyo in mid-February, where each winner will receive a prize of ¥1 million.