Yoko Tawada ( 多和田葉子) was born in Tokyo in 1960. Though she majored in Russian while at her University, she fell in love with the German language and moved to Hamburg in 1982 for post-graduate study, where she earned her Masters degree at Hamburg University. She earned her PhD in Zurich, and later moved to Berlin in 2006. Tawada writes in both German and Japanese, often dealing with themes of displacement in foreigners and tackling the question of where culture and countries begin and end. She’s described herself as between two languages, and pays close attention the sound and energy of words in different languages. She states that it’s difficult for her to translate her own work because she feels that the language causes the story to go somewhere else. Tawada has an extensive amount of works published, including poetry, prose, and plays for which she’s won several awards (including the Adalbert-won-Chamisso Prize and the Akutagawa Prize). Her works in English include The Bridegroom Was a Dog, Where Europe Begins, and Portrait of a Tongue.
Her website in English: http://yokotawada.de/?page_id=20
More on Yoko Tawada: http://www.ndbooks.com/author/yoko-tawada http://www.booksfromjapan.jp/authors/item/759-yoko-tawada
An interview with Yoko Tawada at Stanford University: https://archive.org/details/AConversationWithYokoTawada
By Maggie Costales
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