We invite you to a very special evening with Japanese writer, Yoko Tawada. A rare New York appearance, this will be Tawada's first public event since winning the National Book Award for International Literature in 2018 for The Emissary. Featuring a tri-lingual reading in two voices with Yoko Tawada and Bettina Brandt. Followed by a conversation with the novelist Hari Kunzru.  

"Tawada’s stories agitate the mind like songs half-remembered or treasure boxes whose keys are locked within."—The New York Times

"Magnificently strange. Tawada is reminiscent of Nikolai Gogol, for whom the natural situation for a ghost story was a minor government employee saving up to buy a fancy coat, the natural destiny of a nose to haunt its owner as an overbearing nobleman."—Rivka Galchen, New York Times Magazine


Praise for The Emissary


"A mini-epic of eco-terror, family drama and speculative fiction. Tawada’s interest is satirical as much as tragic, with public holidays chosen by popular vote (Labour Day becomes Being Alive Is Enough Day) and a privatized police force whose activities now centre on its brass band. It’s this askew way of looking at things amid the ostensibly grim premise, and a sprightly use of language that makes The Emissary a book unlike any other."—The Guardian

"Like sashimono woodwork, Tawada needs no exposition to nail down her dystopia. The Emissary achieves a technically impossible balance of open-hearted fable and cold-blooded satire."—Financial Times 

"Charming, light, and unapologetically strange… There’s an impish delight in [each] sentence that energizes what is otherwise a despairing note. Tawada finds a way to make a story of old men trapped in unending life and children fated to die before their time joyful, comic, and—frankly—a huge comfort."—J.W. McCormack, BOMB



Yoko Tawada was born in Tokyo in 1960, moved to Hamburg when she was twenty-two, and then to Berlin in 2006. She writes in both Japanese and German, and has published several books—stories, novels, poems, plays, essays—in both languages. She has received numerous awards for her writing including the National Book Award for International Literature, the Akutagawa Prize, the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, the Kleist Prize, and the Goethe Medal. New Directions publishes her books The Emissary, Memoirs of a Polar BearWhere Europe Begins (with a Preface by Wim Wenders), Facing the BridgeThe Naked Eye, and The Bridegroom Was a Dog. Her book 3 Streets is forthcoming in 2020. 

Bettina Brandt grew up in Germany, the Netherlands and in French-speaking Belgium. She received MA degrees in French and German from the University of Utrecht and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Brandt, who currently teaches in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the Pennsylvania  State University, is both a scholar and a translator. She has written many articles on experimental forms of multilingualism in contemporary literature, especially about Yoko Tawada . She is also the translator of De Berghollander (2010), the first prose collection of Tawada in Dutch translation.

Born in London, Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels White TearsThe ImpressionistTransmissionMy Revolutions and Gods Without Men, as well as a short story collection, Noise and a novella, Memory Palace. He was a 2008 Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2016 Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin. He lives in New York City.

Event date: 

Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

4 Fulton Street
New York, NY 10038