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Mieko Kawakami (1976–) was born in Osaka. Her first break was as a musician; she made her major-label debut in 2002 and went on to release three albums. Eventually she branched out into writing, first submitting poems to literary magazines and then earning an Akutagawa Prize nomination for the 2007 short story “Watakushiritsu in ha-a, mata wa sekai” (Myself and a Toothache), which was published in the prestigious Waseda bungaku journal. She won the Akutagawa the following year with her next work, the novella Chichi to ran (Breast and Ovum). In 2010 Kawakami further established her writerly reputation by receiving the MEXT Award for New Artists and the Murasaki Shikibu Literary Prize for her first full-length novel, Hevun (Heaven), a story of love between two middle-school students bullied at school. She added to her honors in 2013 by winning the Takami Jun Prize for her poetry collection Mizugame (Water Jar), and the Tanizaki Jun’ichiro Prize for her short story collection Ai no yume toka.