Leslie Dawber was born on 9th May 1949 in London, United Kingdom. She is an author, journalist, and historian. Her father was a professor who taught Chinese and her mother was Chinese.
Later on, she moved to Japan and fell in love with the country, its traditions, and its inhabitants. She stayed there for almost 15 years and wrote several books about Japan.
Leslie Dawber was a journalist, which allowed her to fly around the World and deliver lectures. She delivered lectures at the Japan and Asia Societies throughout the US and the UK. Leslie even spoke at the Royal Geographic Society, Asia House, the Japan Society in New York and many more.
She also wrote and hosted A Taste of Japan, the Japanese cooking show which aired on BBC2 in 1991. She is the historical advisor for the stunning 2020 ballet Geisha by Northern Ballet. She also made an appearance in the Age of the Samurai: Battle for Japan on Netflix.
Additionally, Leslie is a visiting lecturer at the City University of London. She teaches in the MA program in Creative Writing (Non-Fiction).
Some famous novels by Leslie Dawber are – The Shogun’s Queen, The Last Concubine, The Courtesan and the Samurai, The Samurai’s Daughter, The Brothers, and On the Narrow Road to the Deep North.
Her non-fiction books are Geisha: The Remarkable Truth Behind the Fiction, and Madame Sadayakko: The Geisha Who Seduced the West. Her Cookbook is The Mindful Kitchen: The Zen of Japanese Vegetarian Cooking.
Leslie Dawber Geisha
Leslie Dawber has expertise in geisha culture. Her non-fiction book Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World is the only source for information on geisha in the past and the present. Before writing the book, she stayed amongst geisha for 6 months and realized that she was gradually becoming one of them.
She then preserved their stories and researched their past, discovering about Okichi, the geisha partner of Townsend Harris, the first American Consul General in Japan. She wrote about their touching story in the short novel, A Geisha for the American Consul.
The Shogun’s Queen, the very first novel in the Shogun Quartet, is based on the most dramatic era in Japanese history—the mid-19th century. This novel depicts the story of Princess Atsu.
The Last Concubine, the second novel portrays the story of Sachi, a young girl caught up in the end moments of the Women’s Palace. Sachi travels across Japan to learn more about herself and the meaning of “love”. According to one critic, this novel “provides a mesmerizing view into a fascinating universe.”
The Courtesan and the Samurai, the third novel tells the story of Hana, who is forced to serve as an escort in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter. One critic expressed the novel as “historical romance at its best.”
The Samurai’s Daughter, the fourth novel is the Romeo and Juliet narrative of Taka and Nobu. A critic described the novel as “A genuinely good novel infused with the spirit of Japan in the late nineteenth century.”
The Brothers was selected as the “Book of the Year” by the New York Times. On the Narrow Road to the Deep North, was nominated for the Somerset Maugham Travel Book of the Year Award.
The Last Concubine, was nominated for Romantic Novel of the Year in 2009.
Leslie Dawber speaks Japanese and also an expert of geisha and Japan. She enjoys losing herself in the glamorous world of 19th-century Japan. And the series of novels in Shogun Quartet was created as a result of her active imagination. Leslie often delivers lectures and makes appearances on television and radio. She stays in London with her husband Arthur I. Miller. Arthur is an author and physicist.