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Kiriyama Prize Winner

for Fiction

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman*
by Haruki Murakami
(Phillip Gabriel and Jay Rubin, translators)

Photo of Luis Urrea

Following the best-selling triumph of Kafka on the Shore—“daringly original,” wrote Steven Moore in The Washington Post Book World, “and compulsively readable”—comes a collection that generously expresses Murakami’s mastery. From the surreal to the mundane, these stories exhibit his ability to transform the full range of human experience in ways that are instructive, surprising, and relentlessly entertaining. As Richard Eder has written in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, “He addresses the fantastic and the natural, each with the same mix of gravity and lightness.” Here are animated crows, a criminal monkey, and an iceman, as well as the dreams that shape us and the things we might wish for. Whether during a chance reunion in Italy, a romantic exile in Greece, a holiday in Hawaii, or in the grip of everyday life, Murakami’s characters confront grievous loss, or sexuality, or the glow of a firefly, or the impossible distances between those who ought to be the closest of all.   “While anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream,” Laura Miller wrote in The New York Times Book Review, “it’s the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves”—a feat performed anew twenty-four times in this career-spanning book. (Source:

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into thirty-eight languages.


“As beautiful and metaphysical as anything Murakami, an artist who’s at the top of his form, has offered in the past... The tales in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman strike a gripping balance between the bizarre and wise [as] empirical reality is bluntly scrutinized, if not entirely undermined... He’s the rare sort of artist who not only creates uncanny landscapes but effortlessly ferries you through them.”—Dan Lopez, Time Out New York

“Murakami’s first collection of stories in more than a decade once again demonstrates his fabulous talent for transporting readers and making ‘the world fade away’...What shines in all of [these stories] is Murakami’s love for the open-ended mystery at the core of existence and his willingness to give himself up ‘to the flow’ in order to capture some of the magic in the mundane.”—Heller McAlpin, The Christian Science Monitor

"A beguiling collection that shows off Murakami's bold inventiveness and deep compassion."—Siobhan Murphy, Metro

"Marvelous... These stories are a joy for [Murakami's] readers... Their beauty lies in their ephemeral and incantatory qualities and in his uncanny ability to tap into a sort of collective unconscious." —Lily Tuck, Publishers Weekly

"Murakami's matchless gift for making the unconvential and even the surreal inviting and gratifying creates hard little narrative gems... A superlative display of a great writer's wares. Absolutely essential."—Kirkus


Read a review of this book in Pacific Rim Voices' WaterBridge Review.

Visit the author's official website:

Visit James Scarborough's excellent website about Murakami.

Photo of Haruki Murakami by Elena Seibert.

Publisher information

Alfred A. Knopf (USA), hardcover
ISBN: 0-374-26988-2
Vintage Books (USA), paperback
ISBN: 0099481332
Harvill Secker (UK), hardcover
ISBN: 978-1843432692

*Following the announcement of the Prize, Mr Murakami declined to accept the award for reasons of personal principle.

for Nonfiction

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
by Greg Mortenson and
David Oliver Relin

photo of Piers Vitebsky

Three Cups of Tea is the inspiring account of one man's campaign to build schools in the most dangerous, remote, and anti-American reaches of Asia.

In 1993 Greg Mortenson was the exhausted survivor of a failed attempt to ascend K2, an American climbing bum wandering emaciated and lost through Pakistan’s Karakoram Himalaya. After he was taken in and nursed back to health by the people of an impoverished Pakistani village, Mortenson promised to return one day and build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time—Greg Mortenson’s one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.

Award-winning journalist David Oliver Relin has collaborated on this spellbinding account of Mortenson’s incredible accomplishments in a region where Americans are often feared and hated. In pursuit of his goal, Mortenson has survived kidnapping, fatwas issued by enraged mullahs, repeated death threats, and wrenching separations from his wife and children. But his success speaks for itself. At last count, his Central Asia Institute had built fifty-five schools. Three Cups of Tea is at once an unforgettable adventure and the inspiring true story of how one man really is changing the world—one school at a time. (Source:

Greg Mortenson is the director of the Central Asia Institute. A resident of Montana, he spends several months of the year in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

David Oliver Relin is a contributing editor for Parade magazine and Skiing magazine. He has won more than forty national awards for his work as a writer and editor. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


"Laced with drama, danger, romance, and good deeds, Mortenson's story serves as a reminder of the power of a good idea and the strength inherent in one person's passionate determination to persevere against enormous obstacles."—Marilyn Gardner, Christian Science Monitor

"Captivating and suspenseful, with engrossing accounts of both hostilities and unlikely friendships, this book will win many readers' hearts."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Award-winning journalist Relin recounts the slow and arduous task Mortenson set for himself, a one-man mission aimed particularly at bringing education to young girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Readers interested in a fresh perspective on the cultures and development efforts of Central Asia will love this incredible story of a humanitarian endeavor."—Vanessa Bush, Booklist

"The story of how this happened is a cliffhanger as well as an first-hand introduction to the people and places of a region little understood by most Americans."—Ann Geracimos, Washington Times

"One only hopes some U.S. policymakers are reading Mortenson's book."—Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer


Read a review of this book by in Pacific Rim Voices' WaterBridge Review.

Visit the website of the Central Asia Institute and find out more about Greg Mortenson's important work in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia. There is also a website devoted to the book at

Photo of Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin is by Steven Winslow.

Publisher information

Penguin Books (USA)
ISBN 0-670-03482-7 hardcover
ISBN 978-0-14-303825-2 paperback


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