Watkins will publish This Monk Wears Heels: Be Who You Are, a memoir from Buddhist monk and celebrity make-up artist Kodo Nishimura.
Fiona Robertson, publisher at Watkins and Nourish, acquired English language rights from Dropcap agent Monica Meehan. Watkins will publish the book under the Watkins imprint in the UK in February 2022 and release it through Penguin Random House Publishers Services in the US and Canada.
Nishimura is a vocal LGBTQ+ activist who considers himself gender-gifted, able to identify as both man and woman. He grew up as an outsider in Japan’s conservative society before learning to embrace his own uniqueness while attending Parsons School of Design. He was named one of Time Magazine's "Next Generation Leaders" in 2021 and has appeared on Netflix's "Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!".
The memoir will weave Nishimura’s personal story with Buddhist teachings, providing a "gentle, loving, and encouraging voice for all those who dare to be different". It will feature practical tips for positive thinking and insights into the philosophical approach to life that the author has crafted as a Buddhist monk, stressing self-love and acceptance.
Robertson commented: "The sample chapters had me hooked immediately. Kodo's charm and warmth leapt off the page and I loved the way he talked about Buddhism as the most inclusive of all religions. It made perfect sense: Buddhism is about getting beyond the form and appearance of things, and if that is the case, then why shouldn't a monk wear sparkles and high heels! I felt that Kodo had a really profound message for the world and I was absolutely thrilled when he decided to go with Watkins as his publisher. It's a very proud day for us to now see Kodo being recognised as a Time Next Generation Leader."