22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Kazuo Ishiguro

Portrait Kazuo Ishiguro
© Hartwig Klappert

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki in 1954. When he was five, his family moved to England, where his father embarked on research at the National Institute of Oceanography. What was initially a short-term arrangement soon became a permanent residence. After attending school in Surrey, he worked temporarily as a grouse-beater for the Queen Mother. While aspiring to become a rock star, he was employed as a social worker in Scotland and cared for homeless people in London, before studying English and Philosophy at the University of Kent in Canterbury. He then went on to study Creative Writing under Malcolm Bradbury at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

Ishiguro’s first novel, »A Pale View of Hills«, soon followed in 1982 and won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. His works often center on individuals who live too much in their own world to comprehend the larger historical contexts that determine their lives. »An Artist of the Floating World« (1986), a novel about a Japanese painter in the service of his country’s imperialistic policies, received the Whitbread Book of the Year award. The Booker Prize-winning »The Remains of the Day« (1989) follows an overzealous butler through World War Two. The butler’s complete dedication to service results in a failure to lead his own life. Following the Kafkaesque »The Unconsoled« (1995) – awarded the Cheltenham Prize – came »When We Were Orphans« in 2000. This unorthodox detective story depicts a lonely and somewhat old-fashioned London private investigator who travels to Shanghai in the 1930s to shed light on the disappearance of his parents and, in doing so, reveals his own delusional self-perception. »Never Let Me Go« (2005), is a mild horror story set in a boarding school where the pupils are protected from a terrible secret, though as they grow older they will inevitably confront it. His collection of stories »Nocturnes. Five Stories of Music and Nightfall« appeared in 2009, but it was another ten years before he published his next novel, »The Buried Giant« (2015). According to a review in the newspaper »Die Welt«, it explores, in the guise of a fantasy novel, the hypothesis that forgetting is important for the development of humankind.

In 1995, Ishiguro received the Order of the British Empire for services to literature and in 1998 was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Ishiguro lives in London with his family.