Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. He was diagnosed with autism in 1998 and subsequently attended a school for students with special needs, then (by correspondence) Atmark Cosmopolitan High School, graduating in 2011.
Having learnt to use a method of communication based on an alphabet grid, Naoki wrote The Reason I Jump when he was thirteen and it was published in Japan in 2007. He has published several books since, from autobiographical accounts about living with autism to fairy tales, poems and illustrated books, and writes a regular blog. Despite his communication challenges, he also gives presentations about life on the autistic spectrum throughout Japan and works to raise awareness about autism. In 2011 he appeared in director Gerry Wurzburg's documentary on the subject, Wretches & Jabberers.
David Mitchell is the author of the novels Ghostwritten, number9dream, Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, The Bone Clocks and Slade House. He has been shortlisted twice for the Man Booker Prize and won several awards for his writing. KA Yoshida was born in Yamaguchi, Japan, and specialised in English Poetry at Notre Dame Seishin University.