Ruth Ozeki

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Ruth Ozeki
Ruth Ozeki signing books at Hotel la Rose in Santa Rosa, March 21, 2013.
Born (1956-03-12) March 12, 1956 (age 59)
New Haven, Connecticut
Occupation Novelist, filmmaker
Nationality American and Canadian

Ruth Ozeki (born March 12, 1956) is a Canadian-American novelist, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest. She worked in commercial television and media production for over a decade and made several independent films before turning to writing fiction.


Ozeki was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut by an American father, Floyd Lounsbury, and a Japanese mother, Masako Yokoyama. She studied English and Asian Studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and traveled extensively in Asia. She received a Japanese Ministry of Education Fellowship to do graduate work in classical Japanese literature at Nara University in Nara, Nara. During her years in Japan, she worked in Kyoto’s entertainment district as a bar hostess, studied flower arranging as well as Noh drama and mask carving, founded a language school, and taught in the English Department at Kyoto Sangyo University.[citation needed]

Ozeki moved to New York in 1985 and began a film career as an art director, designing sets and props for low-budget horror movies. She switched to television production, and after several years directing documentary-style programs for a Japanese company, she started making her own films. Body of Correspondence (1994) won the New Visions Award at the San Francisco Film Festival and was aired on PBS. Halving the Bones (1995), an award-winning autobiographical film, tells the story of Ozeki’s journey as she brings her grandmother’s remains home from Japan. It has been screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, the Montreal World Film Festival, and the Margaret Mead Film Festival, among others. Ozeki’s films, now in educational distribution, are shown at universities, museums and arts venues around the world.

Personal life[edit]

Ozeki, a speaker on college and university campuses, divides her time between Brooklyn and Cortes Island, British Columbia, where she writes, knits socks, and raises ducks with her husband, artist Oliver Kellhammer.

She practices Zen Buddhism with Zoketsu Norman Fischer. Ozeki is the editor of the website Everyday Zen. She was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest in 2010. She is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center.[1]

Awards and honors[edit]




External links[edit]