Opening Session

Tokyo International Literary Festival 2016

Date :
Mar. 2 (Wed.)
Time :
18:30(Doors Open: 18:00)
Venue :
Address :
6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Admission Fee :
Registration :
Required (300 seats)
Cast :
Part 1 : Elizabeth Alexander, Poetry Slam
Part 2: Yiyun Li, Mitsuyo Kakuta, Masatsugu Ono
 Part 3: Seth Fried, Kanako Nishi, Hikaru Fujii

Part 1
We Are Only Noise; We Connect Through Words
―― Appearance by Renowned US Poet and Poetry Readings by International Poetry Scholars

When literature and poetry connect across borders, race, time and space

Best-selling US poet Elizabeth Alexander, who rose to global fame with her reading of Praise Song for the Day at President Obama’s inauguration, makes her first appearance in Japan. There will also be a poetry performance by poetry scholars from Japan, the US, and Korea allowing you to experience the weaving together of different cultures through poetry.

Part 2
The Further Away, The Closer
――Stories Born Apart From Us, Stories Born Within

The spinning of stories traversing borders and words

Yiyun Li travelled all the way from her home country of China to the US, where she began writing novels in English. Mitsuyo Kakuta, in her writings, captures the pent loneliness of immediate life. Traversing borders and words, these two writers will come together to discuss the feelings of unfamiliarity and affinity that they feel when expressing themselves in their works and talk about where their stories emanate from. Kakuta, as a great fan of Li’s works, looks forward to delving into the secrets of her literature. The session will be moderated by writer Masatsugu Ono, well-versed in world literature.

Part 3
The Power of the Unusual
――What Only Fiction Can Convey

Why are we drawn to stories of the unusual?

Seth Fried seamlessly shifts between reality and fantasy in his writing. In 2011 and 2013, he won the Pushcart Prize, awarded to the best short stories, and is a leading writer in the new wave of American literature. His unique, plausible stories are filled with a sense of wit and realism. Writer Kanako Nishii, known for her depictions of the humor and melancholy in everyday life, will explore the appeal of Fried’s world. The moderator for this session is Hikaru Fujii, the Japanese translator of Fried’s works. What kind of future will these 3, hailing from the US and Japan, and sharing the same generation, predict for literature?