By Aki Ishima / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer A 14-year-old girl made her debut as a published author last month with a collection of short stories.
Rurika Suzuki, a second-year junior high school student, previously won Shogakukan Inc.’s literary award for elementary school students for three consecutive years. It was the first time the same writer won the Junisai no Bungakusho (Literary award for 12-year-olds) over that number of years.
Suzuki innocently expressed her delight at her literary debut, saying, “My homeroom teacher also bought my book.”
The collection is entitled “Sayonara Tanaka-san.” It was published by Shogakukan on Oct. 17 and contains a story that earned her one of the awards.
Author Atsuko Asano, one of the Junisai no Bungakusho judges, spoke highly of the budding star, saying, “Her talent is so amazing it gives me goosebumps.”
Even before Suzuki, an only child, began to understand the world, she called the library next to her house “her room.”
She enjoyed reading the works of literary legends such as Naoya Shiga, and learned naturally that “novels look at the dark side, rather than the bright side.”
Surprisingly, Suzuki says she struggles to write essays at school. “I tend to create stories, so my teacher has often corrected the content.”
Enticed by the book coupons that are also offered as part of the award — which made her think she would “be able to buy her favorite manga magazines as much as she liked for the rest of her life” — Suzuki applied for the award for the first time when she was a fourth-grade elementary school student. And that’s when she won her first award.
Learning that “novels allow freedom,” she realized the joy of novel writing.
She belongs to a home economics club at school. In addition to Shiga, her favorite writers are Akira Yoshimura and Shusaku Endo.
The stories in her collection center around a single-parent family of modest means. The young author depicts the daily lives of the mother and her daughter, a sixth-grade primary school student, sometimes as funny stories and other times as touching ones.
Suzuki has a certain style when it comes to creating her work: She wants to “write stories that make readers feel hope.”
The collection has been accepted favorably and is already in its third printing.