MY FALLING DOWN HOUSE 'feels like a novel I've been waiting for all my life' Richard Lloyd Parry, The New York Times
'A distinctive voice in contemporary British Fiction' Joe Moran

Read a work in progress excerpt here

I Fed the Birds - a novel under construction

Joyce had just turned ninety and her daughter, Louie was taking a picnic birthday lunch for them to share. There were strawberries and cream, salmon for the sandwiches and homemade elderflower wine. They would lay a fresh sheet on top of the bed and this would be their picnic blanket. Louie parked up and wondered at the mess of the front garden. She would try and give it a tidy up before she headed back. At the door, the carer, Simone asked Louie for some ID. ‘I’ve just come to visit my mum, it’s her birthday,’ Louie smiled, a little out of breath, ‘you’re the new carer?’ ‘Well, no one told me she had a daughter. Could be anyone.’ Joyce’s voice could now be heard weaving gently from the bedroom, ‘Who is it? Is that someone for me?’ Simone stood in the doorway and turned her head back towards the bedroom door, ‘Don’t you worry Joy, I won’t let anyone in…’ ‘I’m Louie, her daughter, and my mother’s name is Joyce not Joy. Now if…’ ‘Oh, no you don’t. Like I said, you could be anyone.’ ‘I’m not! Anyone!’ ‘I need to see proof. And she likes to be called Joy, so…’ ‘She doesn’t, she likes being called by her proper name, she’s got dementia and doesn’t remember, but you shouldn’t change her name.’ ‘You’re one of those, I guess? We do know what we’re doing.’ Joyce’s voice could be heard calling out again. ‘It’s alright Joy, just some woman here says she’s your daughter.’ ‘It’s me mum, Louie…’ Louie stepped back and took a breath and then faced the other way. After a few moments she switched her attention back to Simone at the door, ‘I changed my name, so I don’t have the same surname now, my ID won’t mean anything to you,’ she searched deep in her handbag, ‘look I’ve got my own keys, why would I have keys? And if you check the photos on mum’s dressing table you’ll see it’s me.’ ‘Photos are long gone.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘They just cause them confusion, they can’t remember who people are, so we just put them away so they can’t see ’em.’ Distracted by her own chattering, Simone had leant into the doorframe and released her grip on the door. Louie seized the moment and slipped by. She felt Simone’s hand touch and then lift away from her shoulder. She half looked around but carried on to her mother’s room. ‘Oh, my!’ called Joyce in fragile ecstasy. Simone barged in, ‘Do you know her then?’ she quizzed her charge. ‘Oh yes, oh yes, she’s mine!’ smiled Joyce, her cheeks becoming rosy. Louie held the door now and bid Simone give them some privacy, ‘If you don’t mind,’ and closed the door behind her. She reflected, why had she said, if you don’t mind? Niceties, how ridiculous they seemed at times. She moved to sit on the edge of her mother’s bed. Joyce gently took her hand and then stroked the side of her daughter’s cheek, ‘Aren’t you lovely? Do I know you, dear?’

Out Now - Japan Stories

Out Now - Japan Stories

The Novels

The Novels

Biography - in brief

The Times Literary Supplement describes her as a writer who applies ‘an other worldly curiosity to a basic but universal question: what is it to live somewhere?’

Jayne Joso is a writer and artist who has lived and worked in Japan, China, Kenya and the UK. She is the author of four novels and most recently a book of short fiction, JAPAN STORIES that explores contemporary Japanese lives; it includes an homage to Yayoi Kusama and a story dedicated to David Bowie: I'M NOT DAVID BOWIE which looks at one Japanese man's obsession with the singer. This latest work was supported by both ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND and the DAIWA ANGLO-JAPANESE FOUNDATION; it is published by SEREN. Her most recent novel: From Seven to the Sea examines the world of seven year-old, Esther who skips school and sets out to sea. ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND supported work on this novel which was also published by SEREN.

Her third novel, My Falling Down House, is set in Japan and draws on Jayne's years living in the snowy mountains of Niigata, and later in Tokyo. Her journalism has been published in various Japanese architectural magazines and in the UK’s Architecture Today. She has also ghost written on architecture, most notably on Japanese star architects for the German publisher: Prestel Art. Her work is largely concerned with matters of human empathy, issues surrounding home and homelessness, aesthetics, philosophy and cultural identity. ‘My Falling Down House’ was the recipient of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Award - given to a work which helps interpret modern Japan to the English-speaking world. It was also longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2017.

My Falling Down House went on to be described as 'an unacknowledged gem: subtle, allusive, and deceptively ambitious' by The New York Times.

Jayne was awarded the Coracle Ireland, International Writer’s Residency in 2012.

'A MASTERPIECE' Anne Janowitz

'A MASTERPIECE'  Anne Janowitz

In Praise of My Falling Down House

The New York Times
'Jayne Joso has quietly and determinedly produced three novels over the past eight years — her latest, My Falling Down House, about a mysteriously alienated young Japanese man, is an unacknowledged gem: subtle, allusive, and deceptively ambitious.' Richard Lloyd-Parry

The Times
'It feels like a novel I've been waiting for all my life.' Asia Editor, The Times.

Longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2017
Recipient of the Sasakawa Foundation Award

The Water Cats - The Hina Awaken

The Water Cats - The Hina Awaken
New work supported by Arts Council England

Excerpt from Jayne Joso’s new fantasy novel – inspired by Japan

#fantasyfiction #cats #environment #evolution #hina #thefuture

The Water Cats

The Hina Awaken


Jayne Joso ©

Had the Hina been sleeping for centuries? Time away to recover and evolve? Clearing thought streams; slipping the boundary mappings that had tried to contain them; taking rest and then flight, and settling again to sleep and reconfigure? There was no easy way to answer. But it seemed they had been waiting, like rare insects, biding their time, waiting for the perfect conditions in which to emerge, in which to awaken. And now that time had come.

Throughout history they had been misunderstood. Their origins almost impossible to trace; difficult to research; hard even, to describe. Perfectly illusive, as though they had been there and not there, all of the time.

From village to village, the stories and whispers would vary, some sprinkled with facts, others rich with fantasy. And were they even real, the Hina? Some said they were ancient dolls with mask-like faces? Some said they were yokai, the kind that induced great fear, changing form to unsettle you and cause you harm; others thought them kind.

The Hina could move at speed, shift, change in size; could seem like holograms, as though if you stretched out your hand you might even travel right through them. They could appear like stone, but their hair, like goat hair, was a constant. And always, they were bedecked in the most exquisite finery. Kimonos, armour, sometimes both. They exuded a sense of power, of terror, of intense knowledge as though they might wholly read your mind. Their eyes startled all who dared look close, clear and bright like glass; and their lips were thin and crimson, the fine strokes of a brush, the slash of a knife.

Some said they came from Nagoya, others said Osaka, but in truth there was no part of Japan that hadn’t laid claim to them; and no part that had not, at times, completely denied their existence. But the water cats needed them. The earth must be healed. It was time to work together, to draw on the strengths of all.

This excerpt is from a new work that is still developing, I hope you enjoy this step into the Water Cats' world, and I also hope it might inspire you to further enjoy your own writing projects!

Jayne Joso photographed by Joerg Rainer Noennig

Jayne Joso photographed by Joerg Rainer Noennig
Angela Carter's short story 'Fireworks' was the story that brought Japan into my life. I was 12 when I read it, and I promised myself then that I would go to live in Japan.




ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND award Jayne Joso funding for time to write volume of Japanese short stories 'Breath on the Wake'

Nature, Blood and Dust - Talk - Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation - Joso discusses Japan's affinity with nature.

Jayne Joso on Japanese Identity in her fiction and art films. Readings, screening and interview with Mark Blacklock coming to Birkbeck University Arts Week, London.

Jayne Joso TALK at DAIWA Anglo-Japanese Foundation on traditional Japanese wood and paper houses and how they inspired her Japanese novel. VIDEO of Talk here:

ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND award Jayne Joso funding for time to write her 4th novel: From Seven to the Sea. Novel currently in progress for publication.

Jayne Joso, keynote speaker at the International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the Commonwealth 2015, held at the Universal Peace Federation, London. Speech entitled: “Space, Place, Identity. Notes from a Novelist on Anti-Human Architecture”

Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Library, New York, (2013) and the Brooklyn Museum Library (2014) have each acquired Jayne Joso's poem Desire for their permanent collections - this work was written in response to stills by the photographer and filmmaker Omar Gamez. Desire forms part of the archive of New York based publisher Abe's Penny who originally commissioned the work.

Perfect Architect featured in full page discussion in ICON magazine (issue 099) - words by Agata Pyzik read in full here.

Perfect Architect in ARCHITECTURE TODAY magazine.

Jayne Joso awarded The Coracle Ireland International Writer’s Residency 2012 - A Sense of Place - based in Wexford, Ireland; part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Soothing Music for Stray Cats - now heavily cited in Green’s Dictionary of Slang.

German academic publishes essay on Soothing Music for Stray Cats ...

Purple Beach - short story by Jayne Joso at 3:AM Magazine read in full here.

Tokyo Spaces – new short story by Jayne Joso commissioned for 100th Anniversary edition of NWR – read excerpt here...

To the Lighthouse - short story by Jayne Joso available in print NWR magazine Autumn 2012 issue.

The dispossessed - Jayne Joso talks about writing Soothing Music for Stray Cats in 3:AM Magazine...

BBC Radio London 94.9 Jayne Joso on The Late Show with Joanne Good talking about her London based novel: Soothing Music for Stray Cats - link currently unavailable

Jayne Joso interview with Kerry Ryan for 3:AM MAGAZINE

Dazed & Confused magazine namecheck Jayne Joso and photographer Omar Gamez (The Money Issue)

Buzz Magazine (April 2011) features Soothing Music for Stray Cats & Perfect Architect

BBC6 Music Cerys featured: Soothing Music for Stray Cats as must buy for Christmas !

Jayne Joso's poetry published by American micro-magazine Abe's Penny - features on The New Yorker site...

Soothing Music for Stray Cats - shortlisted for People's BookJayne Joso honoured for her contribution to the Literature of Wales.

Jayne Joso is on Twitter @JayneJoso, but not on facebook


Events History - Selected


Reviews for Perfect Architect:
-Times Literary Supplement - Keith Miller: “Full of originality... Joso applies an otherworldly curiosity to a basic but universal question: what is it to live somewhere?”

-Publishers Weekly, New York - "Joso maintains a fine balance between the intellectual and the emotional"

-ICON Magazine - Agata Pyzik: "echoes of a Thomas Mann-style Kunstlerroman - charting an apprentice's growth to maturity... an illuminating read"

Reviews for Soothing Music for Stray Cats:

-Times Literary Supplement - Ian Thomson: "may emerge as one of the great, eccentric London novels"

-Planet Magazine - "reminiscent of Holden Caulfield's voice in J.D.Salinger's Catcher in the Rye"

Jayne Joso writes for US micro-magazine Abe's Penny

The poem 'Desire' by Jayne Joso is published this month by US micro-magazine, Abe's Penny . It will be published in 4 parts and is a response to the work of photographer and filmmaker Omar Gámez and stills taken from his work entitled 'Costa da Caparica'.

Abe's Penny's Poetry Postcards...
The 4 linked images are published on postcards, the linked text appears on the other side; and these are mailed out 1 per week creating a small set by the end of that month's issue. The idea is that busy folk receive poetry or fiction in their mail box and have time to read it before they leave the house, or even between the mailbox and the front door.

Abe's Penny featured in THE NEW YORKER


Twitter: @JayneJoso or via publisher: SEREN

re: facebook requests - Jayne Joso is not on facebook