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Mieko Kawakami was born in Osaka in 1976. Her first break was as a singer, making her major-label debut in 2002 and going on to release three albums. Eventually she branched out into writing, first submitting poems to literary magazines and then winning the Akutagawa Prize in 2008. In 2010 she received the MEXT Award for New Artists and the Murasaki Shikibu Literary Prize for her first full-length novel Heaven.