Editor Roland Kelts interviews Monkey contributor Haruki Murakami on American writers, readers & culture, and translating The Catcher in the Rye & The Great Gatsby— from our friends at A Public Space.
For those of you who are not yet familiar with our Monkey Business project, please check out the preface to Volume 4 penned by our founding editors, Ted Goossen and Motoyuki Shibata.
The Monkey Speaks
In case you’ve never heard of us, we are an annual literary journal, focusing on Japanese writing today but soliciting contributions from American and British writers as well, while also squeezing in a number of Japanese modern classic pieces. We would say we are 60 percent contemporary Japan, 20 percent contemporary American and British, and 20 percent modern classic Japan, though some hybrids are hard to categorize, like manga renditions by today’s top Japanese artists of Kafka, Lafcadio Hearn, or Bruno Schulz. In our first four issues, including this one, we have published writers such as Hideo Furukawa, Hiromi Kawakami, Haruki Murakami, and Yoko Ogawa on the Japanese side, and Paul Auster, Stuart Dybek, Richard Powers, and Charles Simic on the American side.
Most of the selections in our past and present issues are taken from the Japanese version of Monkey Business, a quarterly Moto Sibata, one of the coeditors of this magazine, started in Tokyo in 2008 and discontinued in 2011. Moto Turned out, however, to be more stubborn than most people (including Moto himself) and thought and started a new quarterly in the fall of 2013, this time simply called Monkey. Some stories in this issue are taken from the very first issue of Monkey, so the kinship continues, although our range of sources has widened.
Shibata(left) and Goosen at BookCourt in Brooklyn, September 2013
Monkey Business International Vol. 4 debuted last weekend in Japan at the Tokyo International Literary Festival. The magazine’s founding editor, Motoyuki Shibata, and contributors Brian Evenson, David Peace and Tomoka Shibasaki gave readings and talks at several Tokyo venues.
Brian Evenson reading his latest short story, “The Punish,” from Monkey Business vol. 4.
Evenson and Motoyuki Shibata in conversation.
Shibata also gave a talk with editor John Freeman, formerly of British literary magazine, Granta.
Now, Monkey 4 is on its way to North America!
We are thrilled to announce that Monkey Business International vol. 4 will be released at the end of this month — February, 2014. The issue opens with a new contributor, Craft Ebbing Co., a designer duo who tells the story of a mysterious box alongside color pictures of their exquisite craftsmanship. Richard Powers brainfully unpacks the most-talked-about living Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and Kodansha Prize-winning translator Roger Pulvers unveils “The Restaurant of Many Orders,” one of the most popular stories by beloved Japanese giant, Kenji Miyazawa. Sci Fi wiz Toh Enjoe joins Monkey stalwarts Gen’ichiro Takashi, Hiromi Kawakami, Hideo Furukawa and Sachiko Kishimoto — plus debuts of new writers you must meet in our hungry pages.
The new issue will be available on this website and in selected bookstores in the US this spring, and popping through the spring soils in Japan at the upcoming Tokyo Literary Festival, Feb. 28-March 10.
Stay tuned for more!!
Last night, when the biggest snow storm of the season hit the east coast, Richard Powers made it to McNally Jackson Bookstore in downtown Manhattan and kickstarted the reading tour of his newly released book, ORFEO.
Despite the severe weather, the place was packed. Powers read from the book, then took questions from the audience about the story, his writing style, and life in Palo Alto, where he just moved last October.
Powers is known for not signing his books. Instead, he signs special Richard Powers stickers for personal use.
I got a sticker for his first book, Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, translated by Motoyuki Shibata.
…and he posed with Monkey Business Issue 3 (!), which contains his short story, ” Lodestar.”
He is also writing a new essay on Haruki Murakami for Issue 4, due in a few weeks!!
Help to launch Issue 4 of Monkey Business International, the English
edition of the acclaimed Japanese literary magazine, published in
partnership with A Public Space and the Nippon Foundation. Founder and
translator Motoyuki Shibata and translator Ted Goossen co-edit Monkey
Business International. The intern will assist them as well as
contributing editor Roland Kelts in launching the magazine in America,
including event planning, social media promotion, distribution, and
other projects. Requirements: The intern is expected to work 5-10 hours
a week (remotely for the most part, and occasionally from the offices of
A Public Space in Brooklyn). Please email a letter outlining your
experience and interest to firstname.lastname@example.org
Monkey Business fav and friend Richard Powers has a new novel, “ORFEO, ” out this month. His protagonist is 70 year-old avant-garde composer Peter Els, who experiments on splicing musical patters and microbiology. The book in Sundays NYTBR. If you’re in New York next week, Powers will be at McNally Jackson Bookstore in Soho on Tuesday, January 21.
Read Powers’s new essay on Haruki Murakami in our Issue 4, out in early February. Stay turned!