Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Sunday Read: David Mitchell Translates Japanese Autistic Teenager’s Book, The Reason Why I Jump

David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, has translated, with his wife, Keiko Yoshida, a book written by an autistic teenage boy called Naoki Higashida. The original work was found online in 2006 by Mitchell’s wife, Hoshida, who then “did the heavy lifting from the Japanese into English”. Hoshida’s story illuminates the world of an autistic child, and Mitchell and Hoshida both initially translated it for their own son’s carers and friends but then realised the memoir would find a wider audience and be helpful to many others.

Described as “an important book” by Mitchell’s publisher Carole Welch, the book is likely to provide “extraordinary insight into what it’s like to have autism, and particularly as a child.” The Reason I Jump will be released in July. Both the Guardian and Telegraph have articles about the book.

Cloud AtlasThe Thousand Autumns of Jacob De ZoetBlack Swan GreenNumber9DreamGhostwritten

Painstakingly picked out on a cardboard alphabet grid by its severely autistic author, the acclaimed Japanese memoir The Reason I Jump, which provides a “revelatory” window onto life as an autistic teenager, is being translated into English by the award-winning author of Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell.

Mitchell’s wife Keiko Yoshida spotted the 2006 memoir online. In the book the teenage author Naoki Higashida answers questions such as why he doesn’t make eye contact when talking, why he can’t have a proper conversation and how much he hates being talked down to. Yoshida thought it might be helpful, as the couple’s own son is also autistic. Initially translating it just for their son’s carers and for friends, Mitchell and Yoshida soon began to realise that the memoir might help a much wider audience.

David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, has revealed his role in another writer’s book that will shortly be published in Britain. Working closely with his wife, he has translated The Reason I Jump, a memoir by a severely autistic Japanese writer, Naoki Higashida.

Book details


Please register or log in to comment