writers in residence
In Residence
Zurich, Switzerland
January — June 2024

Sayaka Murata



The Japanese author Sayaka Murata (born 1979) lives and works in Tokyo. In her works, Murata explores the diverse consequences of nonconformity in society, particularly in relation to gender roles, parenthood, and sexuality. Many of the themes in her works are drawn from her daily observations as a part-time worker in a konbini, a typical Japanese convenience store, where she worked for almost twenty years. Sayaka Murata has received numerous awards, most notably the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 2016. She has published ten novels and several short story collections, and her works have been translated into over 30 languages. With the translation of the Japanese bestseller "Convenience Store Woman" (2016) into English, Sayaka Murata achieved international recognition in 2018.

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A Short Passage


"We would soon be dispatched to the Factory. Those who were already prepared would guide those who weren’t yet ready. Miho was my guide. Earthlings baffled me. If I were an Earthling, though, I suppose it would be absolutely natural for me to be controlled by my genes, too, just like Miho was. It must be a peaceful, secure way of life. It was just before Christmas, decorations and ornamental trees adorned the streets, and there was romance in the air. Society was a system for falling in love. People who couldn’t fall in love had to fake it. What came first: the system or love? All I knew was that love was a mechanism designed to make Earthlings breed."

— From "Earthlings" (Granta, London 2021)