Woman Who Brings the Rain: A Memoir of Hokkaido, Japan

Eluned Gramich

PUBLICATION DATE: February 4, 2016

Editions available from New Welsh Review


About the book

Winner of the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015: WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment

Wales Book of the Year 2016 Shortlisted

As precise and nuanced as Japanese calligraphy, this memoir of the author’s stay on the remote Hokkaido island in the far north of Japan, has at its heart the mountain, Yotei-San, the region’s iconic equivalent to Mount Fuji. As much about learning a language (with connotations of ‘reading’ a wild landscape) as it is about nature, this dignified and nuanced work evokes what is cultured and cultivated, and yet also honours the wild; the untrans- latable. With its themes of seasonal transformation, the peripheral, folklore, loneliness and learning to belong, this work takes a personal philosophical stance in relation to the centre and the periphery.

Born in Haverfordwest, Eluned Gramich studied English at Oxford and Creative Writing at UEA, before moving to live and work in Japan on a Daiwa scholarship. Her translated collection of German short stories, Goldfish Memory (Monique Schwitter), was published by Parthian in spring 2015. She is currently working on her first novel. Woman Who Brings the Rain won the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015, People, Place & Planet: WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment, in February 2015 under the title, ‘Scenes from a Hokkaidan Life’.


"Most rewarding is the philosophical approach... [Gramich's] embracing of... cultural multiplicity, fluidity and adaptability... suits perfectly the changing boundaries of our modern world."

Wales Arts Review

"Quite beautiful. [The author encounters a culture that is completely alien] and she does it with a poet's eye... precisely and vitally. She reads this unfamiliarity with all her imaginative nerve-endings open: the effect is quite remarkable..."

Professor Tony Brown, Wales Book of the Year Shortlisting Adjudication

"Eluned Gramich' is a name to hear time and again in the future. [This writing] is as good as we the jurors have ever read... short but perfectly formed... absolutely perfect."

Justin Albert, Wales Book of the Year Final Adjudication