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Eluned Gramich

Woman Who Brings the Rain: A Memoir of Hokkaido, Japan

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Winner of the 2015 New Welsh Writing Awards: WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment

Shortlisted for the 2016 Wales Book of the Year: The Open University in Wales Creative Non-Fiction Award

'Eluned Gramich has written the perfect essay - a minutely detailed yet nuanced evocation of place and personalities that is full of ecologically precise imagery and is as attentive to the Japanese language as it is to Hokkaidan landscape.' – Mark Cocker

As precise and nuanced as Japanese calligraphy, this memoir of the author’s stay on the remote Hokkaido island in the far north of Japan, has at its heart the mountain, Yotei-san, the region’s iconic equivalent to Mount Fuji. As much about learning a language (with connotations of ‘reading’ a wild landscape) as it is about nature, this dignified and nuanced work evokes what is cultured and cultivated, and yet also honours the wild; the untranslatable. With its themes of seasonal transformation, the peripheral, folklore, loneliness and learning to belong, this work takes a personal philosophical stance in relation to the centre and the periphery.

'"Eluned Gramich" is a name to hear time and again in the future. [This writing] is as good as we the jurors have ever read... short but perfectly formed... absolutely perfect.' – Justin Albert

'Quite beautiful. [The author encounters a culture that is completely alien] and she does it with a poet's eye... precisely and vitally. She reads this unfamiliarity with all her imaginative nerve-endings open: the effect is quite remarkable...' – Tony Brown

'Most rewarding is the philosophical approach... [Gramich's] embracing of... cultural multiplicity, fluidity and adaptability... suits perfectly the changing boundaries of our modern world.' – Wales Arts Review

Eluned Gramich is a Welsh-German writer, translator and librarian. Her memoir of her time in Hokkaido, Japan, Women Who Brings the Rain, won the inaugural New Welsh Writing Award in 2015 and was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year in 2016. More recently, she received the Ghastling Novella Award 2020 for a lockdown ghost story, Sleep Training. Her debut novel, Windstill (Honno), came out in November 2022. She lives in Aberystwyth with her partner and two daughters.