Add speakerRemove speakerSpeaker added

Katie Kitamura

Bestselling Author of Intimacies

  • About Katie Kitamura

    “A master of cool disquiet… Kitamura writes with forceful, direct prose that makes for a bracing read and leaves the reader mesmerized.” Vogue

    Katie Kitamura is a novelist, critic, and author of the 2021 National Book Award longlister and instant bestseller, Intimacies. In this electrifying story, an interpreter has come to The Hague to escape New York and work at the International Court where she is drawn into simmering personal dramas and an explosive political controversy. A woman of quiet passion, she confronts power, love, and violence, both in her personal intimacies and in her work at the Court. Hailed as a “gorgeous, destabilizing meditation on the power differentials built into language” by Raven Leilani, Intimacies was a finalist for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize and made countless best book lists, including one of The New York Times’ “10 Best Books of 2021,” and Barack Obama’s favorite books of the year.  In France, it won the Prix Litteraire Lucien Barriere, was a finalist for the Grand Prix de l’Heroine, and was longlisted for the Prix Fragonard.

    Kitamura’s previous work, A Separation, is a searing, suspenseful story of intimacy and infidelity that propels us into the experience of a woman on edge with exquisitely cool precision. A PBS NewsHour/ New York Times Book Club Pick, Elle described A Separation as “combining Elena Ferrante-style intricacies with the tensions of a top-notch whodunit.” A Separation was a finalist for the Premio von Rezzori and a New York Times Notable Book.

    In her fascinating talks on the nuances of language and prose, Kitamura reveals the process behind her bestselling fiction with universities, libraries, book festivals, and more. She delves into her experience growing up in a dual-language household to explore themes of identity, the American immigrant experience, and autobiography and the self.

    In addition to Intimacies and A Separation¸ Katie Kitamura is also the author of Gone to The Forest and The Longshot, both finalists for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. Her work has been translated into 21 languages and is being adapted for film and television. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize in Literature, as well as fellowships from the Lannan, Santa Maddalena, and Jan Michalski foundations. Kitamura’s writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, Granta, and more. She teaches in the creative writing program at New York University.

  • Speaking Topics

    Language and the Immigrant Experience in America

    In this talk, Kitamura chronicles her experience growing up in a Japanese American household speaking both English and Japanese, and how the childhood experiences of both difference and communion shaped her understanding of what it means to be American. Directly linked to her development as a writer and the thematic elements of her fiction, Kitamura inspires audiences of all identities to champion our differences.

    Finding First Person

    What does it mean to write in first person? How do you tell the story of yourself? And what does it mean to find your voice as a writer? In this talk, Kitamura delves into the relationship between fiction and biography, and how the self is situated in a novel.

  • Video

  • Praise for Katie Kitamura


    Katie Kitamura was dazzling. She was kind and patient and a riveting reader. Where I sat I could hear the audience audibly gasping at moments. Wonderful.

    Princeton University

    She is so wonderful…the Amherst community appreciated both the conversation, and the small group craft talk with students––specifically the way she is both brilliant and also able to clearly and accessibly demystify the writerly process/life.

    Amherst College

    Praise for Intimacies

    Intimacies is both sleekly gorgeous — those sentences — and psychologically unnerving. She’s an absolutely brilliant writer.

    Julie Otsuka, New York Times Book Review

    [A] thriller of a novel…. In exploring how one’s proximity to power and violence can hold endless repercussions, Kitamura interrogates how our intimacies can change the course of our lives.


    [I]ntense, unsettling… Intimacies is very much a story that seems to be something familiar but soon morphs into something disorientingly strange…. [W]ith her Jamesian attention to the slightest movement of bodies and words, Kitamura keeps Intimacies rooted to the ordinary domestic experiences of her narrator, her petty jealousies, her passing suspicions. The effect is a kind of emotional intensity that’s gripping because it feels increasingly unsustainable. Who could endure that raw-nerve sensitivity to the power of language to love, to deceive, to promise, to kill? Kitamura pulls us through a rising panic of hyper-awareness until the story’s fever finally breaks with a note of hope and relief. But that can’t quell the novel’s reverberations, which expose something incomprehensible about the moral dimensions of modern life.

    Ron Charles, Washington Post

    Praise for A Separation

    A novel so seamless, that follows its path with such consequence, that even minor deviations seem loaded with meaning. Wonderful.

    Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of My Struggle

    Kitamura is a writer with a visionary, visual imagination… In A Separation, [she] has made consciousness her territory. The book is all mind, and an observant, taut, astringent mind it is.

    The New Yorker

    Kitamura’s prose gallops, combining Elena Ferrante-style intricacies with the tensions of a top-notch whodunit.

  • Books by Katie Kitamura

  • Media About Katie Kitamura

Request Fees
and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Katie Kitamura travels from Brooklyn, NY

Similar Speakers

Celeste Ng

Author of the New York Times bestseller Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere

Lauren Groff

National Book Award finalist and bestselling author of Fates and Furies and Matrix

Ruth Ozeki

Filmmaker, novelist, and Zen Buddhist priest