Xiaolu Guo was born in south China. She studied at the Beijing Film Academy and published six books in China before moving to London in 2002. Her books include Village of Stone which was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth which was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, and I Am China which was longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction. Her recent memoir, Once Upon a Time in the East, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award, the Jhalak Prize and the Rathbones Folio Award 2018, and was a Sunday Times Book of the Year. In 2013 Xiaolu was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. She has directed several award-winning films including She, A Chinese, and documentaries about China and Britain. She was a judge for the Booker Prize in 2019, and is currently a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York.
An absolute must-read and one of the finest novels of 2020, period * Books and Bao * Guo's latest novel . . . demonstrates how much can be achieved when narrative is cut loose from plot and scene-setting in favour of free-floating reflection -- Anthony Cummins * i * A story told with charm that will leave you in a ponderous mood -- Susannah Butter * Evening Standard * Xiaolu Guo writes with tremendous delicacy and nuance about migration, language, alienation, and love . . . Guo has pared down every tiny chapter to its poetic essence so as to let the largest themes emerge, thus taking the reader from the verbal to something approaching the numinous -- Mike Cormack * Spectator * A fragmentary meditation on the nature of love, on desire and on connection between two humans . . . this book sets off cross-cultural echoes with the lightest of strokes -- Aida Edemariam * Guardian *