Portraits of Haruki Oyamada (Japan) (left) and Kiley Reid (USA) (right)
Past Event
Books & Debates

Global Conversations: Writing Work

Fri 7 May 2021
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Two pivotal writers of the future, Kiley Reid (USA) & Hiroko Oyamada (Japan), unpack the culture of work and what it tells us about being human

‘To be an artist means never to avert one's eyes.’ Akira Kurosawa

Moments of illumination in fiction often come when we least expect them, flooding us with emotion in the blink of an eye. Yet, often the roots of these moments lie in acts we would consider commonplace. What is the trick of finding the extraordinary in quotidian functions like work? How do writers achieve an accurate portrayal of the mundane while also taking the reader on a journey? Kiley Reid, American author of Such a Fun Age, discusses these questions with Japanese writer Hiroko Oyamada, whose The Factory unfolds in a massive industrial complex, the very centre of work in the modern world. Interpreted by Mariko Iwasaki, two pivotal writers of the future unpack the nature and meaning of work and what it tells us about being human.

Portrait of Kiley Reid
Image © David Goddard

Kiley Reid

Kiley Reid earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship and taught creative writing with a focus on race and class. Her short stories have been featured and are forthcoming in Ploughshares, December, New South and Lumina. Such A Fun Age, her debut novel, is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller.

Portrait of Oyamada Hiroko
Image © Shinchosha Publishing Co Ltd

Hiroko Oyamada

Born in Hiroshima in 1983, Hiroko Oyamada won the Shincho Prize for New Writers for The Factory, which was drawn from her experiences working as a temp for an automaker’s subsidiary. Her following novel, The Hole, won the Akutagawa Prize.

Global Conversations

Curated specially for a festival that loves conversations in a time that limits face-to-face meetings, Global Conversations focuses on the conversations that some of the most creative minds of our planet have been dying to have with people who live far away from them. From the minutiae of mundane tasks to the importance of resistance, in a range of languages, but always human, this is a space to expand the mind. Take a look at more Global Conversation events:


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