Ruth Ozeki

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ruth Ozeki
Ruth Ozeki signing books at Hotel la Rose in Santa Rosa, March 21, 2013.
Ruth Ozeki signing books at Hotel la Rose in Santa Rosa, March 21, 2013.
Born (1956-03-12) March 12, 1956 (age 63)
New Haven, Connecticut
OccupationNovelist, filmmaker, professor
NationalityAmerican and Canadian
Alma materSmith College

Ruth Ozeki is an American-Canadian author, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest. Her books and films, including the novels My Year of Meats (1998), All Over Creation (2003), and A Tale for the Time Being (2013), seek to integrate personal narrative and social issues, and deal with themes relating to science, technology, environmental politics, race, religion, war and global popular culture. Her novels have been translated into over thirty languages. She teaches creative writing at Smith College where she is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities in the Department of English Language and Literature.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Ozeki was born on March 12, 1956. She grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, and is the daughter of the American linguist, anthropologist and Mayanist scholar, Floyd Lounsbury, and Masako Yokoyama. In 1980, she graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in English and Asian Studies, and upon graduation, she received a Japanese Ministry of Education Fellowship (Monbukagakusho) to do graduate work at Nara University.[3]


Film and television[edit]

In 1985, Ozeki moved to New York City and began working as an art director and production designer[4] for low-budget horror movies, including Mutant Hunt (1987)[5] and Robot Holocaust (1986).[6] In 1988, she began working for Telecom Staff, a Japanese production company, coordinating, producing and directing documentary-style programs for Japanese TV. During this time, she directed episodes of See the World by Train[7] and co-produced the pilot for the TV documentary miniseries Fishing With John (1991),[8] starring musician John Lurie and director Jim Jarmusch. Ozeki's first film, Body of Correspondence (1994), made in collaboration with artist Marina Zurkow won the New Visions Award at the San Francisco Film Festival[9] and was aired on PBS.[10] Her second film, Halving the Bones (1995), tells the autobiographical story of Ozeki's journey as she brings her grandmother's remains home from Japan. It was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Montreal World Film Festival, and the Margaret Mead Film Festival, among others.[11][12]


Ozeki's debut novel My Year of Meats (Viking Penguin,1998), based on her work in Japanese television, tells the story of two women, living on opposite sides of the world, whose lives are connected by a TV cooking show.[13] My Year of Meats was awarded the 1998 Kiriyama Prize and the 1998 Imus/Barnes & Noble American Book Award.[14] Her second novel, All Over Creation (Viking Penguin, 2003), focuses on a potato-farming family in Idaho and an environmental activist group opposing the use of GMOs.[15] Author Michael Pollan called All Over Creation "a smart compelling novel about a world we don't realize we live in."[16] All Over Creation received the 2003 WILLA Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction and the 2004 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

Ozeki's 2013 novel, A Tale for the Time Being (Viking Penguin) tells the story of a mysterious diary written by a troubled schoolgirl in Tokyo that's washed ashore on the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada in the wake of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The diary is discovered by a novelist named Ruth, who becomes obsessed with discovering the girl's fate. Junot Diaz called this novel Ozeki's "absolute best—bewitching, intelligent, hilarious, and heartbreaking, often on the same page."[17] The novel was awarded the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and named the first recipient of the 2015 Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award (founded by the Leo Tolstoy Museum & Estate and Samsung Electronics) for the Best Foreign Novel of the 21st century.[18] The book has received several other national and international awards, and has been published in over thirty countries.

In her first work of personal nonfiction, The Face: A Time Code (Restless Books, 2016), Ozeki writes about a three-hour observation experiment, in which she studied her reflection in a mirror and kept a log of thoughts that arose during that time.[19] The Face: A Time Code was published as part of Restless Books' groundbreaking series, The Face, featuring authors Tash Aw and Chris Abani.[20]


From 1982 through 1985, Ozeki taught in the English department at Kyoto Sangyo University and founded an English language school in Kyoto, Japan.[21] Currently, she is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities in the Department of English Language and Literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.[22]


Ozeki was ordained as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest in 2010; she practices Zen Buddhism with Zoketsu Norman Fischer. She is the editor of the website Everyday Zen.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Ozeki divides her time between Northampton, Massachusetts, New York, New York, and Cortes Island, British Columbia. She is married to the German-Canadian environmental artist Oliver Kellhammer, who teaches on the faculty of Sustainable Systems at Parsons School of Design.[24][25]

Awards and honors (selected)[edit]


  • The Face: A Time Code. Restless Books. 2016. ISBN 978-1632060525.
  • A Tale for the Time Being. Viking. 2013. ISBN 978-0-67-002663-0.
  • All Over Creation. Penguin. 2003. ISBN 978-0-14-200389-3.
  • My Year of Meats. Penguin. 1998. ISBN 978-0-14-028046-3.
  • Halving the Bones. 1995.
  • Body of Correspondence. 1994.

Anthologies (selected)[edit]


  1. ^ "Ruth Ozeki | Penguin Random House". Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  2. ^ "Where We Are for the Time Being with Ruth Ozeki - Los Angeles Review of Books". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  3. ^ "long bio". Ozekiland. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Ruth Ozeki Lounsbury". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  5. ^ Gianasi, Rick; Fahey, Mary; Reynaldi, Ron; Vrenon, Taunie (1987-06-01), Mutant Hunt, retrieved 2017-03-26
  6. ^ Culf, Norris; Hartstein, Nadine; Ornsteiner, J. Buzz Von; Delora, Jennifer (1987-01-20), Robot Holocaust, retrieved 2017-03-26
  7. ^ "See The World By Train". TELECOM STAFF (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  8. ^ Lurie, John; Tyler, Nik; Webb, Robb (2000-01-01), Fishing with John, retrieved 2017-03-26
  9. ^ "Body of Correspondence | San Francisco Film Festival". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  10. ^ "Body of Correspondence | ITVS". Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  11. ^ "WOMEN MAKE MOVIES | Halving the Bones". Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  12. ^ "Sundance Film Festival (1996)". Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  13. ^ My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki |
  14. ^ "Talk Radio Personality Imus Behind Richest Book Awards". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  15. ^ All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki |
  16. ^ Noble, Barnes &. "All over Creation". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  17. ^ Noble, Barnes &. "A Tale for the Time Being". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  18. ^ "Ruth Ozeki Wins 2015 Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award". Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  19. ^ "The Face: A Time Code". Restless Books. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  20. ^ "The Face". Restless Books. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  21. ^ Lundquist, Molly. "A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki - Author Biography". Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  22. ^ "Ruth Ozeki | Smith College". Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  23. ^ "Everyday Zen". Ozekiland. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  24. ^ "Ruth Ozeki". Goodreads. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  25. ^ "Oliver Kellhammer". Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  26. ^ Guzeva, Alexandra (2015-10-29). "American writer honored with Yasnaya Polyana literary award". Russia Beyond The Headlines. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  27. ^ Chamberlain, Adrian. "Cortez Island author Ruth Ozeki earns IMPAC award nomination". Times Colonist. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  28. ^ "Dos Passos Prize". Dos Passos Prize. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  29. ^ Kirsten Reach (January 14, 2014). "NBCC finalists announced". Melville House Books. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  30. ^ "Announcing the National Book Critics Awards Finalists for Publishing Year 2013". National Book Critics Circle. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  31. ^ "Ruth Ozeki Wins the Medici Book Club Prize for A Tale for the Time Being - News About Penguin Books USA". Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  32. ^ "Novelist and Zen priest Ruth Ozeki wins Canada Japan Literary Award". Lion's Roar. 2014-12-12. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  33. ^ "2014 Sunburst Winners | The Sunburst Award Society". Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  34. ^ Linda Morris. "Eleanor Catton youngest author ever shortlisted for Booker". The Age. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  35. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (April 11, 2014). "Jacket Copy: The winners of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are ..." LA Times. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  36. ^ Flood, Alison (2014-02-13). "Ruth Ozeki beats Thomas Pynchon to top Kitschie award". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  37. ^ "Ruth Ozeki: College & University Programs Author, Speaker | PRH Speakers Bureau". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  38. ^ Schwartz, Larry. "The Willa Award". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  39. ^ "Writers at Newark: Ruth Ozeki, Cynthia Cruz | Rutgers University - Newark". Retrieved 2017-03-28.

External links[edit]