Kanako Nishi (1977–) was born in Tehran, Iran, where her family had relocated for her father’s job. She subsequently lived in Japan for several years before moving with her family to Cairo, Egypt, where she spent four of her elementary school years. The male protagonist’s early life in her novel Saraba! (So Long!) roughly parallels her own. After college, Nishi wrote for an information magazine as a freelancer. At 25 she began writing fiction, and made her literary debut in 2004 with the short story collection Aoi (Blue). In 2006 she won the Oda Sakunosuke Prize for her novel Tsūtenkaku (Tower to Heaven), and in 2012 she received the Kawai Hayao Prize for the novel Fukuwarai (Funny Face). Her monumental 2014 novel Saraba!, in which the action roves across all of the places where she has lived, from Iran to Egypt and Osaka to Tokyo, garnered her the prestigious Naoki Prize. Nishi’s forthright portrayals of the alienation experienced by characters with strong personalities have gained her a wide following, especially among young readers. She is also known as an avid fan of professional wrestling.