Marie Mutsuki Mockett was born in Carmel, California to a Japanese mother and American father, who saw to it that she learned her mother's native tongue. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in East Asian Studies. Her work often focuses on the intersection between spirituality and materialism in Japan and the United States, two countries that have experienced unprecedented wealth.
Marie's memoir, Above The Waves, has been sold to Alane Mason at Norton; Above The Waves will detail the history of Marie's family Buddhist temple in Iwaki, Japan, (25 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant), and explore the religious and cultural frames within which people in Japan cope with death and disaster.
Marie's debut novel, Picking Bones from Ash, was published by Graywolf Press and was shortlisted for the 2010 Saroyan Prize, the Asian American Literary Awards for Fiction and was a Finalist for the Paterson Prize. Amy Tan has praised the novel as "a book of intelligence and heart," and in an early review, Publishers Weekly has declared, "In this ambitious debut ... Mockett succeeds where others fail: making the reader care."
Marie's non-fiction writing has been published in The New York Times, Glamour, Salon, National Geographic, The Millions, The Nervous Breakdown, The New Yorker online, and Agni, and she has been interviewed on NPR's Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered. Marie's fiction, essays, and poetry have been published in Agni, Epoch, South Dakota Review, New Delta Review, North Dakota Quarterly, The Portland Review, LIT, The Texas Review, Phoebe, and other journals.
Marie's essay "Letter from a Japanese Crematorium" was published in Agni 65 and cited as distinguished in the 2008 Best American Essays, edited by Adam Gopnik, and published in the Creative Nonfiction 3, edited by Lee Gutkind. Of the essay, Publishers Weekly wrote: "Among the standouts is . . . an emotional "Letter from a Japanese Crematorium" by Marie Mutsuki Mockett."
Marie resides in New York with her Scottish husband, her delightful son, and three precocious cats. She is represented by the Irene Skolnick Literary Agency. Visit the Picking Bones from Ash site.