David Mura

David Mura is a poet, creative nonfiction writer, fiction writer, critic, playwright and performance artist.  A Sansei or third generation Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei (Grove-Atlantic), which won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was listed in the New York Times Notable Books of Year, and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality and Identity (1996, Anchor/Random). His most recent work is the novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (2008, Coffee House Press), a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the John Gardner Fiction Prize and Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award. Mura’s newest collection of poetry, The Last Incantations, will be published by Northwestern University Press in 2013.

Among his awards, Mura has received a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a US/Japan Creative Artist Fellowship, two NEA Literature Fellowships, two Bush Foundation Fellowships, four Loft-McKnight Awards, several Minnesota State Arts Board grants, and a Discovery/The Nation  Award.  He has also received a Jones Commission, a Multicultural Collaboration Grant, and a McKnight Advancement Grant for playwrighting from the Playwrights’ Center.

Along with African American writer Alexs Pate, Mura has created and performs a multi-media performance piece, Secret Colors, about their lives as men of color and Asian American-African American relations.  This piece premiered for the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1994) and has been presented at various venues throughout the country.   A film adaptation of this piece, Slowly, This, was broadcast in the PBS series ALIVE TV in July/August 1995.  Mura has also been featured on the Bill Moyers PBS series, The Language of Life.

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