UMKC’s BkMk Press releases Tokyo writer’s first fiction book

Mariko Nagai wins G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize, USA Book News’ Best Books 2010 Award for Short Stories

The University of Missouri-Kansas City‘s (UMKC) BkMk Press announces the publication of “Georgic: Stories” by Mariko Nagai. “Georgic” won the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, selected by Jonis Agee. Inspired by Japanese folk tales and history, “Georgic” depicts humanity’s endurance in the face of extreme human conflict and rural life.

“Starkly recounted with a clear, cold tone, these stories carry the weight of a survivor bearing witness,” writes Publishers Weekly. “Nagai’s 10 tales offer haunting depictions of human endurance and spirit, as well as the anguish that can accompany survival,” writes Booklist. “Georgic,” Nagai’s first book of fiction, recently won USA Book News’ Best Books Award for Short Stories.

“Mariko Nagai reimagines the georgic, a pastoral form pertaining to rural life, to create a searing portrait of the cost of war, social and political strife, with sadness sharp enough to cut the tongue and grief so unbearable, the journey toward new life so remarkable – it takes your breath to see such tenderness and truth,” said Agee.

Born in Tokyo and raised in Europe and America, Mariko Nagai studied English at New York University. Her honors include the Erich Maria Remarque Fellowship from NYU and fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for the Arts, Yaddo and Djerassi. She has received Pushcart Prizes in poetry and fiction. Nagai’s first book, the poetry collection “Histories of Bodies,” won the Benjamin Saltman Prize from Red Hen Press. She teaches creative writing and literature at the Temple University Japan Campus in Tokyo.

“Georgic” (ISBN 978-1-886157-76-7) is 158 pages, and the retail price is $15.95. BkMk Books area available through Ingram Book Company, SPD, Baker & Taylor and directly through BkMk Press. For more information, contact Ben Furnish, managing editor of BkMk Press, at or (816) 235-2558.

Founded in 1971, BkMk Press has been a part of UMKC since 1983. BkMk concentrates on publishing collections of poetry, short fiction and creative essays. Publishing roughly six titles a year, BkMk Press has more than 125 titles in print. BkMk Press established the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize in 2002 to honor the memory of Chandra, a writer and longtime faculty member at UMKC.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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