ruthRUTH OZEKI’S new novel A Tale for the Time Being has just been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. It’s a book that explores, amongst other things, time and our place in it.

The story begins with a woman finding the diary of a 16 year-old Japanese girl in a ‘Hello Kitty’ lunchbox washed up on the beach of an island off Bristish Columbia. The girl confides to her diary, in purple ink under red covers, that she’s being bullied at school, she’s worried about her father (who’s unemployed and has attempted to kill himself ), that she loves her grandmother, a 104 year-old Buddhist nun, and that she, the girl, Nao, is also planning to kill herself.

Every book searches for its perfect reader. Nao’s diary has found one in the Canadian beachcomber, who, it turns out, is a novelist, coincidentally called Ruth, also, like Ruth Ozeki, married to a man called Oliver; a woman looking for a story to follow, who begins searching out clues as to the girl’s identity, stumbling upon the possibility that she, and all her family, might have died in the 2011 Tsunami.

A Tale for the Time Being is Ms Ozeki’s fourth novel. She is Canadian-American, born from a Japanese mother. She’s had a chequered career as, amongst other professions, a bar hostess in the entertainment area of Tokyo, a language teacher and an award-winning filmmaker. Three years ago she was ordained as a Buddhist priest.

Outspoken is exceptionally pleased to continue its association with Brisbane Writers Festival by bringing Ruth Ozeki to Maleny for a conversation with local author Steven Lang.

Maleny Community Centre, Wednesday September 4th 6.00 for 6.30pm, tickets $15 and $10 for students, available from Maleny Bookshop, 5494 3666.