Italo Calvino was born on October 15, 1923 in Cuba to academic parents. His father was an agronomist who spent many years working in Latin America and his mother was a botanist. Shortly after Italo’s birth, the family moved back to Italy where they lived for the rest of his life. Italo studied in the agriculture department of the University of Turin until the German occupation of Northern Italy during WWII. He dropped out of school to join the partisans and his first publications were stories that centered primarily on his war experience
After the war, he re-enrolled in University and transferred from Agriculture to Literature. His first novel, The Path to the Nest of Spiders was initially submitted to a contest sponsored by the Mondadori publishing company and later released in 1947 after not placing in the competition.
David Mitchell is a British author who was listed as one of the most influential people in world by Time Magazine in 2007. He was born in 1969 in Southport in Merseyside, England, and was raised in a middle-class family. He has a master’s degree in comparative literature. In his 20’s he fell in love with a Japanese woman and moved to Hiroshima where he lived for many years teaching English to technical students. He currently lives in Ireland with his wife and two children. Mitchell has talked openly about his son’s autism, and he and his wife, Keiko Yoshida, recently translated into English a memoir about autism titled, The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism. To hear him talk about this book on The Daily Show, click here.
Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949. He found the inspiration to become a writer while watching a baseball game. After publishing his second novel, he sold the bar he was running with his wife (Peter Cat coffeehouse and jazz bar) and dedicated his life to writing. Since then he has published over 15 books and many short stories which have been translated into 50 languages.
His books are quirky, smart, and funny and he has become an iconic figure of postmodern literature. Many of his books focus on themes of loneliness, alienation, and search for meaning within modern Japanese culture. He has won numerous awards and prizes for both is novels and his short story collections. The Guardian recently referred to Murakami as the world’s greatest living novelist. However, he has been criticized by Japan’s literary establishment for being overly influenced by Western culture and literature. Read more