poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer
Birthplace: Kobe, Japan
A Japanese-American poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer, Mori was raised in Kobe, Japan, and, inspired by her mother and grandfather, began to write in both Japanese and English at an early age. “These two people in my family gave me the idea that writing was something we did everyday or even every week with enjoyment.” At age 12, Mori was devastated when her mother committed suicide. She moved to the United States four years later to attend college, receiving her bachelor's degree from Rockford College and a master's and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. Her first novel for young adults, Shizuko's Daughter (1993), was followed by a collection of poetry, Fallout (1994). In Mori's well-received memoir The Dream of Water (1995), she travels back to Kobe to make peace with her mother's suicide and to visit the family she left behind. That same year she published her second young adult novel, One Bird (1995). Polite Lies, essays about her life as a Japanese American woman in the Midwest, was published in 1998. Stone Field, True Arrow (2000) marks her first book of adult fiction and relates the story a middle-aged woman's awakening after her father dies in Japan.