By Carolyn Kellogg
11:24 AM PDT, April 4, 2013
Haruki Murakami tends to stay out of the public eye. The author of the novels "1Q84," "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle," the memoir "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running," and a dozen other books has not made a public appearance in his home country, Japan, in almost two decades.
That will change in May, when Murakami is scheduled to appear as part of a seminar in Kyoto. It's the kickoff for a new literary prize named in honor of the late Hayao Kawai, a clinical psychologist who was an old friend of Murakami, AFP reports.
Murakami's last public in appearance in Japan was in 1995, after the devastating Kobe earthquake.
If fans of the author hope to bring books for him to sign, they'll have an additional one to add to the stack. Murakami's new novel, which has not yet been translated into English, is scheduled to be published in Japan on April 12.
The novel is titled "Shikisai wo Motanai Tasaki Tsukuru to Kare no Junrei no Toshi," which has been translated as "The Faded Tsukuru Tasaki and the Year of his Pilgrimage." The Times' Julie Makinen tells Jacket Copy that “Tsukuru” also means “to make,” which could be a play on words.
Murakami's complex fiction has achieved international literary acclaim; his awards include the Franz Kafka Prize, the Jerusalem Prize, Spain's Catalunya Prize and the Tanizaki Prize. He's a popular bestseller in Japan, where pre-orders for his new novel have outpaced those for any of his previous works: 10,000 in 11 days, according to his publisher Bungei Shunju.
American fans are waiting for the announcement of an American release of "Shikisai wo Motanai Tasaki Tsukuru to Kare no Junrei no Toshi" -- or buying plane tickets to Japan.
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