Agent : Bill Hamilton
Lesley Downer is a novelist and writer whose great passion is Japan. She first went there in 1978 and lived there off and on for more than fifteen years. She now lives in London with regular forays to Tokyo. Her first novel, The Last Concubine, is a historical romance set in nineteenth century Japan, a society in which there was no word for or concept of romantic love; it is nonetheless a love story. It was shortlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year in 2009. She’s written many non-fiction works on Japan. To research Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World, she spent six months living among the geisha, shared their lives and found herself slowly but surely being transformed into one of them. The book is the definitive work on geisha, told through stories of historical geisha and the many geisha that she befriended. Madame Sadayakko: The Geisha who Seduced the West is the colourful and dramatic story of Sadayakko, the geisha who was Puccini’s model for Madame Butterfly. Lesley Downer’s non-fiction books include On the Narrow Road to the Deep North, short listed for the Somerset Maugham Travel Book of the Year award in 1988 and filmed by WENT and Channel 4 in 1991 as Journey to a Lost Japan, and The Brothers, a New York Times ‘book of the year’ in 1995. She also presented a Japanese cooking series, A Taste of Japan, on BBC2. Her new novel,Across a Bridge of Dreams, will be published in June 2012.