Acclaimed Author Dr Anita Heiss to Launch Japanese Edition of ‘Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms’ at Avid Reader

Avid Reader Bookshop in West End will welcome Dr. Anita Heiss, marking the release of the Japanese translation of her critically acclaimed novel, “Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms.” 



The new edition coincides with the 80th anniversary of the Cowra breakout, a significant event in Australian history where Japanese prisoners of war escaped their compound. Heiss’s novel intertwines this historical backdrop with a poignant love story between a Japanese soldier and a Wiradjuri woman.

Photo Credit: Anita Heiss/ Facebook

Set against the backdrop of wartime Australia, the novel follows Hiroshi, a Japanese soldier who finds refuge in the Erambie Aboriginal mission after the breakout. There, he forms a deep connection with Mary, the daughter of the community leader, Banjo Williams. Their burgeoning love faces challenges not only from the ongoing war but also from the systemic restrictions and prejudices of the time.

Originally published in 2016, “Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms” garnered significant recognition, earning high placements in several literary awards. The Japanese edition, featuring new cover art, allows the story to resonate with wider audiences.

Dr Heiss shared her inspiration for the novel, stating her fascination with how different cultures document history and the lack of representation of the Aboriginal community in the narrative of the Cowra breakout. She sought to shed light on the shared history of Cowra, highlighting the struggles faced by both the Aboriginal people and the prisoners of war.

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On the 27th of June 2024, the event at Avid Reader Bookshop will feature a discussion with Dr. Heiss, translator Noriko Oka, and editor Donna Weeks. Free bookings are essential for this unique opportunity to delve into the novel’s themes and the process of bringing it to a Japanese audience.

The Japanese edition is part of Ligature’s Untapped project, which aims to revive out-of-print Australian classics through e-books and new print editions. Ligature founder Matt Rubinstein expressed his pride in supporting projects that celebrate Australian stories and make them accessible to new generations.



Following the Avid Reader event, readers can explore the diverse culinary scene of West End. Nonna’s Nightmare offers traditional Italian fare with a modern twist, while Vegan Restaurant West End caters to plant-based preferences. For those seeking

Published Date 17-June-2024