Ira Ishida 石田衣良
Ira Ishida (1960–) was a frequent visitor to his local library from elementary school on, and as early as age seven he had determined that he would be a writer. He states that throughout middle and high school he read an average of three books a day. After graduating from university, he drifted through a series of part-time jobs and did a stint at an ad agency before going independent as a copywriter. It was in his mid-thirties that he first tried his hand at novel-writing. In 1997 his debut short story Ikebukuro Uesuto Gēto Pāku (Ikebukuro West Gate Park, or IWGP) won the All Yomimono New Writers' Prize for detective fiction. He released numerous stories in the IWGP series, publishing them as compilations that sold a total of more than a million copies. In 2003 Ishida took the Naoki Prize for 4teen. Known also for his talent as a romance novelist, he has published several works in that genre, including two in 2006, Nemurenu shinju (The Sleepless Pearl) and Mioka. A versatile artist, he makes frequent appearances on television, hosting programs and serving as a commentator on social issues affecting young people.