Tsunami Girl by Julian Sedgwick, and illustrated by Chie Kutsuwada is scheduled for release in March 2021 from Guppy Books.
Part prose, part manga, the novel is the coming-of-age story of 15-year-old Yuki Hara Jones who gets caught up in the March 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
It’s about a young person trying to work out who they are, and where they fit - and trying to do this whilst surviving the trauma of a triple disaster of colossal scale.
The manga pages in the novel will convey Yuki’s attempt at telling her own story through her art, incorporating elements of Japanese folklore and ghost stories and the alternative gekiga comic tradition. They will be realised by Chie Kutsuwada.
Through meeting survivors and my research in Fukushima, alongside my work as a writer and my experience as a therapist, I knew this was a story I had to tell. The hardest thing was to find a version of the story that was emotionally true, and honoured so many of the stories I had heard. Ultimately, Tsunami Girl is a book about how some of the stories we tell ourselves can trap us, whilst others can give us the power to survive almost unimaginable catastrophe, and emerge to live freely and fully. I’m totally delighted that Guppy Books have taken Tsunami Girl under their wing.
Chie Kutsuwada was born and brought up in Japan. A well-known figure in teaching manga in the UK, Chie went to Central Saint Martin’s for her art major and continued her studies at the Royal College of Art. She now works as a professional manga artist and lives in Brighton.
Chie says: “That earthquake traumatised me even though I was not directly affected. Since then I have been avoiding to know much about it because it hurts. When Julian contacted me, I thought this is a great chance for me to face my fear and to understand the real impact of that tragedy on those people. I am honoured to join the team and I will do my best to realise Julian’s and Yuki’s thoughts visually ”
Bella Pearson, publisher at Guppy Books, acquired world rights from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates. She says: “I am so happy that Guppy Books will be publishing this important novel from Julian and Chie, and so excited to be involved in a project which marries manga and text together in such an emotionally satisfying and original storytelling way.”