Ruth Ozeki is an American-Canadian novelist born on March 12, 1956 in New Haven, Connecticut. As a child, her father, who worked as an anthropologist, encouraged her to focus on her studies and emphasized education as a top priority in life. With this in mind, Ozeki attended Smith College to study English and Asian Studies. After obtaining her BA, she enrolled at Nara University in Japan for graduate school. Before her foray into the literary realm, Ozeki worked in the film industry as a production designer for various movies, such as Mutant Hunt, Robot Holocaust, and Halving the Bones. Her debut fiction novel entitled My Year of Meats was published in 1998. She released another book, All Over Creation, in 2003.
Ozeki’s most recent publication is A Tale for the Time Being (2013), which tells the story of Ruth, a Japanese-American writer living on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. While walking along the shore, she finds a lunchbox with a series of diary entries from a girl named Nao. Ruth realizes that her new discovery is actually debris from the infamous 2011 tsunami that destroyed Japan. Ruth is taken on an emotional journey as she uncovers the story of this young and forgotten girl.
Upon its publication, A Tale for the Time Being received positive reviews for its moving portrayal of a girl affected by the 2011 Japan tsunami. It was ultimately shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. David Ulin of The Los Angeles Times describes it as “an exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once.”