Booker Prize nominee and writer of Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell, is set to translate an autism memoir with his wife, Keiko Yoshida. The Reason I Jump by Japanese writer Naoki Higishida, who has autism, was written when he was only 13 years old. The book explains the behavior of a child, diagnosed with severe autism at age five. It also explained how Naoki would respond to the people around him, which included his ability to embrace concepts such as self-harm, beauty, noise and time.
Sceptre, the book’s publisher, compared The Reason I Jump, which was only recently published in July, to The Diving-bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominque Bauby, which provided an insight into locked-in syndrome. Naoki was born in 1992 and graduated from high school in 2011. He lives in Kimitsu, Chiba Prefecture and is now a motivational speaker, as well as the author of several fiction and non-fiction books. While he has a very low verbal fluency, the young Naoki used an alphabet grid to laboriously explain his thoughts to questions he imagined others most often wonder about him. According to Sceptre, “Naoki examines issues as diverse and complex as self-harm, perceptions of time and beauty, and the challenges of communication, and in doing so, discredits the popular belief that autistic people are anti-social loners who lack empathy.”