Former artist Julie Otsuka's talent took a literary turn when she put down her brushes and picked up a pen to write her stunning debut novel, When the Emperor Was Divine.
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New York, New York
Date of Birth:
May 15, 1962
Place of Birth:
Palo Alto, California
B.A., Yale University, 1984; M.F.A., Columbia University, 1999
|Barnes & Noble 2002 Discover Awards - Second Place: Fiction|
|When the Emperor Was Divine|
Speaking of this Fall 2002 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, Jill Lamar of the Discover program calls Otsuka's debut about a family nearly torn apart by internment during World War II "understated but powerful and particularly resonant today...a heartbreaking first novel." The New York Times's Michiko Kakutani agrees, praising the work as "crystalline...precise but poetic...resonant and beautifully nuanced."
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|In an interview with her publisher, Otsuka recalls, "As a young girl, I remember if I ever complained, my mother would say, 'Just look in the mirror and smile,' or, 'Chin up.' That attitude does make it easier to get on with things. The war was a devastating episode for everyone of that generation. And I think the main task for everyone after the war was to get on with their lives, not to dwell on the pain or the loss."|
|Otsuka's Influences||Otsuka's Reading Recommendations|
|In Our Time|
In an interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Otsuka reflects on authors who have influenced her: "When I first started writing," she recalls, "I read all of Hemingway’s short stories, beginning with the Nick Adams stories in In Our Time. I remember thinking, 'oh, so that’s how you do it.'" Read more about Otsuka's favorite books and writers, including:
|Visiting Mrs. Nabokov and Other Excursions|
We asked Otsuka to give us a list of her all-time favorite reads. Otsuka put this collection of Martin Amis's "wickedly funny essays" high atop her list; read on to find out more about her best-loved books.