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Book Break - At the Sharpe End - writing and rewriting

At the FCCJ (Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, Yurakucho Denki Building, 20F)
Book Break
“At the Sharpe End”
By Hugh Ashton
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 from 6:15 pm to 8:30 pm
(The talk will be in English)

The library committee is offering a cocktail party – “Meet the Author” – on May 21, starting at 6.15 pm. Followed by dinner at 6.45. Drinks can be ordered on a cash basis from the bar in the room.

  • Book Break charges 2,000 yen (including tax) for the event.
  • FCCJ Members: Sign up now at the reception desk (3211-3161).
  • Non-members: Send me a message – and you can be added to my guest list.

To help planning of proper seating and food preparation, please reserve in advance, preferably by noon of the day of the event. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. Reservations cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will be charged in full.


At the Sharpe End is a thriller by Hugh Ashton, set in Tokyo in 2008 against the background of the Wall Street crash. It describes an expatriate Englishman, and his adventures dodging the agents of at least four countries as he fights for control over a key piece of financial technology. It has attracted critical attention, and has reached the #4 spot for thrillers on Amazon Japan.

Written in 2007, the first draft used an earthquake resulting in a nuclear power accident as a plot tipping point. By the time the book was ready for publication some two years later, however, the earthquake had not occurred, but the Wall Street crash had taken place, causing chaos in the financial markets.

The new edition, published this year by Inknbeans Press of California, contains a foreword by Robert Whiting, the Tokyo-based author of the best-selling Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan, together with an appendix containing large portions of the original story, which have assumed a sinister new relevance in the wake of the events of March 11, 2011.

On May 21, Ashton will be talking about the researching and writing of the story, the fictional and non-fictional elements involved, and the problems involved in radically changing the plot of a novel halfway through the process, and answering questions about writing and publishing.