Clarissa Goenawan won the 2015 Bath Novel Award for her unpublished debut Rainbirds. New York-based Soho Press has just acquired World English rights with great excitement, for publication in the first semester of 2018. Amara Hoshijo, the acquiring editor at Soho Press, said: «From the first page of Rainbirds, Clarissa's writing struck me not only beautifully literary and effortlessly transportive, but capable of resonating with a wide audience, much like the works of Haruki Murakami and Elena Ferrante. Rainbirds shatters so many boundaries, from genre limitations to the dichotomy of commercial versus literary, and I am excited to have found a novel that I believe forges new territory.»
Rainbirds is set in Japan in 1994: when Ren Ishida receives the news that his sister Keiko has been knifed to death, he decides to move to the small town where Keiko used to live. There he takes a job as a teacher at Yotsuba, the same cram school his sister worked at, where he will befriend a young, beautiful but troubled student named Rio. By following a personal journey, Ren will discover a painful truth that unearths secrets from his past.
By combining literary fiction with some elements of magical realism, Clarissa Goenawan has managed to write a novel that takes the reader to the slow life of a town in Japan, and at the same time flow with a great rhythm and a clear and concise prose.
Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singapore-based writer. As she likes to say, she loves rainy days, pretty books, and hot green tea. She is also a former mentee on the WoMentoring Project and she also studied novel-writing with the Curtis Brown Creative.
More information: Maria Cardona