The HSW Literary Agency



Tamai Kobayashi
photo by: Linda Chen

Tamai Kobayashi was born in Japan and raised in Canada. She is the author of the short story collections Exile and the Heart (Women's Press) and Quixotic Erotic (Arsenal Pulp Press). Prairie Ostrich is her first novel.

Work on Offer:

Prairie Ostrich
Goose Lane Editions 2014

It’s 1974. Bookish, seven-year-old Imogene Murakami, called “Egg,” lives with her teenaged sister Kathy on their parents’ ostrich farm. Since the girls’ brother Albert died, their mother has been drinking and their guilt-stricken father has shut himself up in the barn. To comfort Egg, Kathy reads books to her, reinventing them as she goes along so that all stories end happily—even those of Anne Frank and Laika, the canine cosmonaut.

Not surprisingly, the sisters increasingly depend on one another for protection and support. When Egg is bullied by her schoolmates, Kathy comes to her rescue; when Kathy is harassed by her ex-girlfriend’s new, heterosexual clique, Egg subtly diverts their attention. But the girls’ relationship is threatened when Egg’s teacher reads aloud from Charlotte’s Weband Egg herself reads the end—the actual end—of The Diary of Anne Frank­. How can Egg trust someone who has lied to her about everything?

In the face of these struggles, each sister makes a final sacrifice for the other. When Kathy, certain that Egg still needs her, intentionally ruins her chance at a basketball scholarship to a college far away from the farm, Egg remembers the Buddhist monks who protested the Vietnam War and sees freedom for her and Kathy both…

Prairie Ostrich is the story of coming out and coming of age in a sleepy rural town, in a family where the ties that bind may be the ties that set you free.

Manuscript available
Rights: Translation

Praise for Quixotic Erotic by Tamai Kobayashi:
“Ranging from tender and sultry to coolly surreal, Quixotic Erotic offers readers a phenomenal range of erotic adventures...”

-- Herizons

“. . . Kobayashi has long held a deserved reputation as a woman who gives good fiction. . . a writer who is not afraid to paint her characters with both detail and with bold strokes and her erotica reaps the benefit.”

-- Xtra!

Praise for Exile and the Heart by Tamai Kobayashi:
"From the Future Bakery to Old Man Dam, Tamai Kobayashi reveals the ordinary and extraordinary lives of Asian-Canadian lesbians and their families with a quiet, intense passion. Kobayashi has a sharp eye for the poetic in the everyday, and for the small resonant truths that gleam amidst the seemingly mundane. Contemplative, generous, and precise, this is a book about how history, personal and global, creates the present and how the present evolves into history."

-- Larissa Lai, author of When Fox is a Thousand