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Kazuo Ishiguro

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Kazuo Ishiguro is a British author who was born in Nagasaki, Japan on 8th November 1954. He migrated to England with his family so his father, who was an oceanographer, could work with the National Institute of Oceanography. He went to ‘Stoughton Primary School’ and the ‘Woking County Grammar School’ in Surrey, England. During the gap year that he took after school, Ishiguro wrote a journal and sent its tapes to various record companies. In 1974, he enrolled in the University of Kent in Canterbury and attained a degree of Bachelor of Arts with two majors; English and Philosophy. After his graduation, Ishiguro started working on fiction novels for almost a year after which he entered the University of East Anglia in 1980 for a master’s program in Creative writing.

Ishiguro’s novels are mainly historical in nature. ‘The Remains of the Day’ his novel published in 1989 is set in a house of a wealthy man, a lord, and the incidents that take place are immediately after the end of World War I. Similarly ‘Artist of the Floating World’ is set in Nagasaki and shows the post war time period. This novel is written from personal experience as Kazuo Ishiguro was born there. The dates mentioned in his novels are correct and the atmosphere presented is very accurate. He writes in the first person viewpoint and portrays the narrator to be human complete with flaws. For example in his novel the ‘The Remains of the Day’ the character Stevens who is a butler is caught up between his call of duty and a romantic allure of the housekeeper Miss Kenton. Ishiguro leaves his reader with an unresolved end. His characters accept who they are bringing an end to their mental torment.

Although Ishiguro was born in Japan and has a Japanese name, he left Japan when he was only five and returned almost thirty years later in 1989, that also as a member of the ‘Japan Foundation Short Term Visitors’ program. The setting of his first two novels was in Japan however he bears no resemblance to the Japanese style of writing fiction. Some of his novels include ‘The Unconsoled’ (1995), ‘When we were Orphans’ (2000) and ‘Never Let Me Go’ (2005). His novels ‘The Remains of the Day’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’ were adapted into films in 1993 and 2010 respectively. His short story collection called ‘Noctures: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall’ was published in 2009. It also got a nomination for the James Tait Back Memorial Prize. Ishiguro has also written screenplays for ‘A Profile of Arthur J. Mason’ which aired in 1984 and ‘The Gourmet’ in 1986. He has received immense appreciation with his work being translated in over thirty languages and has been given many awards. Ishiguro is also a ‘Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature’.

Kazuo Ishiguro is known as one of the greatest British authors. He has received 4 ‘Man Booker Prize’ nominations. He has also won a prize for his novel ‘The Remains of the Day’ in 1989. He was also ranked on number 32 on ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’ by The Times. Ishiguro married Lorna MacDougal in 1986. They currently live in London with their daughter Naomi.

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