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Clara Kumagai

Clara Kumagai states on her website that she is from Canada, Japan and Ireland. A feature by Marjorie Brennan in the Irish Times elaborates that Kumagai was born in Vancouver to a Japanese father and an Irish mother and moved with her family to Ireland when she was still a child. She studied English and drama at Trinity College, Dublin, but moved to Canada to complete an MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Kumagai taught at a university in Tokyo for five years before moving back to Ireland.

Fiction (Young adult)

Catfish Rolling

Toronto: Penguin Teen Canada, 2023.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

There’s a catfish under Japan, and when it rolls, the land rises and falls. At least, that’s what Sora was told after she lost her mother to an earthquake so powerful that it cracked time itself. Sora and her father are some of the few who still live near the most powerful of these “zones” — the places where time has been irrevocably sped up, or slowed down.

When high school ends, and her best friend leaves for university, Sora finds herself stuck and increasingly alone. She begins secretly conducting her own research, tracking down a time expert in Tokyo. She also feels increasingly conflicted in her quasi-romantic feelings for her best friend — and for the time expert’s assistant, a striking and confident girl named Maya, another hafu (half-Japanese, half-non) girl with whom Sora forms an instant bond.

But when Sora’s father disappears, she has no choice but to return home and venture deep into the abandoned time zones to find him, and perhaps the catfish itself . . .


Clara Kumagai personal website

Publisher Penguin Teen Canada