Laura Imai Messina

Posted by Sue Leonard on Saturday 19th September 2020

As a child, Laura read Fairy Tales and books by the Bronte’s;

“And my mother introduced us to the Famous Five and the Secret Seven by Enid Blyton. I loved them!”

Laura kept a diary, and as a teenager, she composed rhyming sonnets.

“Yet becoming a writer always seemed like an unattainable dream – so I decided I’d be a teacher in university instead.”

By the age of 28, however, writing had become an obsession. Highly prolific, Laura only sent one book in three out to publishers. She has, already, had some novels published in Italy.

“The Phone Box at the Edge of the World was born in the space of 6 weeks; writing in a Starbucks, I, quite literally, dived in and didn’t come up for air until it was finished.”  


Who is Laura Imai Messina? 

Date of Birth: 1981, in Rome.

Education: The Liceo Giulio Cesare, Rome. International Christian University of Tokyo, Masters in Literature; Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, PhD in Comparative Literature.

Home: Kamakura, near Tokyo. “I lived in Tokyo for 10 years and moved five years ago”

Family: Husband, Ryōsuke, a researcher at the University of Tokyo. Claudio Sōsuke, 5, and Emilio Kōsuke, 3.

The Day Job: “I’ve kept up parts of my former role as a researcher at the university.”

In Another Life: “I would love to be a highly skilled chemist, I find Chemistry as fascinating as literature, but I was a total disaster at science.”

Favourite Writers: Emil Cioran; Giorgio Manganelli; , Georges Perec, Ogawa Yōko, Salvatore Satta. “And I re-read the Bible and the Talmud as if they were novels”.

Second Novel:I’m deep in the next one, about the traditions and rites of weddings and funerals in Japan.”

Top Tip: Read, write, read, write, read, write. Have a couple of really strong and honest friends, and make use of an editing service.

Website: Twitter: @LalmaiMessina

The Debut: The Phone Box at the Edge of the World: Manilla Press: €14.42. Kindle: €6.07. 

Yui is grieving for her mother and daughter, lost in the Tsunami, and, hearing of a disused phone box used by the bereaved to speak to those who they’ve lost she makes the pilgrimage. What will she find there?

The Verdict: Moving, heart-breaking, but ultimately redemptive.

Published on 11th July in The Irish Examiner.

© Sue J Leonard. 2020

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