‘A Tale for the Time Being’: One Book, One Mesa County’s final author presentation is Saturday | PostIndependent.com

‘A Tale for the Time Being’: One Book, One Mesa County’s final author presentation is Saturday

Mesa County Libraries
Special to the Free Press


WHAT: One Book, One Mesa County author appearance and book-signing by Ruth Ozeki

WHEN: Saturday, March 1; Doors open at 6 p.m., presentation starts at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Grand Junction High School Auditorium, 1400 N. 5th St.

COST: Free

INFO: http://www.mesacountylibraries.org

Ruth Ozeki, whose novel “A Tale for the Time Being” is this year’s One Book, One Mesa County selection, will speak about her writing and her work at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Grand Junction High School Auditorium, 1400 N. 5th St., in Grand Junction.

The event is open to the public at no charge. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Ozeki’s appearance is the capstone of a month-long series of One Book, One Mesa County events that have focused on various aspects of her book.

The novel is a powerful story about how reading, writing, and the discovery of a journal connect two people who will never meet. The connection begins with a lunchbox washed up on a beach in the Pacific Northwest, suspected to be debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. The lunchbox contains a diary written by a troubled Tokyo schoolgirl, and its finder, a novelist named Ruth, becomes obsessed with discovering the girl’s fate. In the course of its story, “A Tale for the Time Being” contemplates quantum mechanics, Zen meditation, computer science, climate change, and the nature of being.

“A Tale for the Time Being” is available from Mesa County Libraries in print and audio CD formats, and limited copies are available in ebook and audio downloadable formats. The book also is available from local bookstores.

Ozeki is the daughter of a Japanese mother and a Caucasian-American father, born and raised in Connecticut. She attended Smith College and graduated with degrees in English Literature and Asian Studies. She received a Japanese Ministry of Education Fellowship to pursue graduate work in classical Japanese literature at Nara Women’s University. During her years in Japan, she worked in Kyoto’s entertainment or “water” district as a bar hostess, studied Noh drama and mask carving, founded a language school, and taught on the faculty of Kyoto Sangyo University.

In 1985, Ozeki returned to New York City and started a film career as an art director, designing sets and props for low-budget horror movies. She then switched to television production, directing documentaries for Japanese TV. In 1994, she started making her own films. “Body of Correspondence” (1994) won the New Visions Award at the San Francisco Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS. “Halving the Bones” (1995), an award-winning autobiographical film, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, the Montreal World Film Festival and the Margaret Mead Film Festival, among others.

Her first novel, “My Year of Meats,” was published in 1998 by Viking Penguin. A sexy, poignant, funny tale about global meat and media production, “My Year of Meats” tells the story of Jane and Akiko, two women on opposite sides of the planet, whose lives are connected by a TV cooking show. Selected as a New York Times Notable Book, “My Year of Meats” was translated into 11 languages and published in 14 countries. It won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Award, the Imus/Barnes and Noble American Book Award, and a Jury Prize of the World Cookbook Awards in Versailles.

Ozeki’s second novel, “All Over Creation” (Viking Penguin, 2003) shifts the focus from meat to potatoes in a story of a family farmer, his prodigal daughter, an itinerant gang of environmental activists and a New Age corporate spin doctor whose lives and interests collide in Liberty Falls, Idaho.

Again a New York Times Notable Book, “All Over Creation” is the recipient of a 2004 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, as well as the WILLA Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction.

In 2006, Ozeki received an honorary doctorate from Smith College. She has been a contributor to the New York Times op-ed page, and her essays and short fiction have appeared in a number of anthologies. She frequently speaks at colleges and universities. Ozeki serves on the Creative Advisory Council of Hedgebrook, a women’s writing retreat center on Whidbey Island, Wash., and on the Advisory Editorial Board of The Asian American Literary Review. Starting in 2015, she will be the Elizabeth Drew Professor of Creative Writing at Smith College.

A longtime meditator, Ozeki was ordained as a Soto Zen priest in 2010. She is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation and is the editor of the Everyday Zen website. She is married to the German-Canadian environmental artist Oliver Kellhammer. A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, she splits her time between Cortes Island, British Columbia, and New York City.

The 2014 One Book, One Mesa County celebration marks the 10th anniversary of the event. During that time, One Book has brought prominent authors such as Rudolfo Anaya, John Grogan, and Jonathan Safran Foer to Grand Junction to meet readers and discuss their work. Thanks to community participation, One Book, One Mesa County has gained a reputation as an engaging and high-quality literary event in which authors are proud to participate.

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