The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley, is a historical novel written while she lived in Japan on the Daiwa Scholarship. The watchmaker in question is a Japanese immigrant living in London at the time of the Fenian bombings of Whitehall, in the late nineteenth century. Many aspects of the book are taken from the author’s own experiences and research in Japan.
Natasha will read from the book, and then discuss some details of the research involved. These will include life in the Japanese show village built as part of the Great Exhibition in 1884, the social impact of westernisation in the early Meiji civil service, and the advances of clockwork in the nineteenth century. She will also talk about some of the broader challenges of researching and writing historical fiction in a foreign language, particularly translation and the process of translating history, as well as language, alongside the ever-present struggle between familiarisation and exoticisation faced by any writer dealing with subject matter crossing national borders.
You can watch the recording of this event here:
About the contributors
Natasha Pulley was born in Cambridge, and lives in the Fens. She studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University, followed by Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She became a Daiwa Scholar in 2013 and, while in Tokyo, taught on the undergraduate Creative Writing course at Waseda University. She returned at the beginning of April 2015. Her first novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, will be released on 2 July 2015. At the moment, she is researching a sequel.