Murata has been a huge runaway bestseller in Japan, one of the highest selling literary novels of recent years, selling 660,000 hardcovers to date. Convenience Store Woman won Japan’s most prestigious literary prize, the Akutagawa Prize. Rights have been sold in nine territories so far; Grove conducted a four-way auction for UK & Commonwealth rights, selling to Granta Books, the UK publisher of The Vegetarian, which is a good comp title. There is already a lot of buzz behind this book and author.
Reminiscent of the work of Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto, Convenience Store Woman follows a young woman who adores her dead-end job at a convenience store in Tokyo and doesn’t understand the concern of her friends and relatives who want her to settle down. Convenience Store Woman is both wry social novel and sensitive portrait, a heartfelt and brilliantly written novel.
We hope to follow the trajectory of an author like Han Kang and think that this book has the potential to win a big readership as well as the literary clout to be awarded major international prizes.
Murata has a building international profile and was recently selected as one of Freeman’s “The Future of New Writing” authors. Murata’s short fiction has been published by magazines including Granta, who featured her in their Japan issue but this is her English-language debut and we hope for significant press and great bookseller support.
The author herself worked at a convenience store in Japan and despite her huge success as a writer still finds the time to do the occasional shift at her store. She is an ideal subject for journalist profiles.
A Japanese film adaptation of the novel is underway and there has been interest in the book from American film studios.