Monday Dec 04, 2023

Hiromi Goto

My guest on this episode is Hiromi Goto. Hiromi’s first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms, won the 1995 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, was the co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. Her second adult novel, The Kappa Child, won the 2001 James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award. She has published multiple novels for adults and children, as well as a book of poetry, and a collection of short stories. She has also won The Sunburst Award and the Carl Brandon Parallax Award.

Hiromi's most recent book, Shadow Life—her first graphic novel, created with artist Ann Xu—was published by First Second Books in 2021. Shadow Life won the 2022 Asian/Pacific American Literature Award for Adult Fiction and was nominated for a 2022 GLAAD Media Award and an LA Times Book Prize. The New York Public Library also declared it one of the best books of 2021. Publishers Weekly, in its review of Shadow Life, said: “this wry genre-bending graphic novel …delves into aging, independence, lost love, and mortality with a whimsy that doesn’t undercut its literary heft.”

Hiromi and I talk about her current situation in which she finds herself unable to read and write barely at all, and about the work she is doing as a part-time farmhand that, even if it doesn’t help her get writing again, is doing some good and necessary things for her soul.


Hiromi Goto:

Music: "simple-hearted thing" by Alex Lukashevsky. Used with permission.

Contact Nathan Whitlock at

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