Xiaolu Guo

  • China/United Kingdom
  • 2018/2019
  • Abigail R. Cohen Fellow
Xiaolu Guo

Xiaolu Guo is a Chinese British novelist and filmmaker. She has published several books in both English and Chinese. Her memoir Nine Continents won the National Books Critics Circle Award 2017. I Am China was one of NPR’s Best Books of the Year. Her previous novels include A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (Orange Fiction Prize Shortlist.) She also directed feature films including She, A Chinese and UFO In Her Eyes. She describes her work as “documentary novels.”

A Lover’s Discourse, Continued

My project is to write a fictional work, with essayistic and anthropological aspects, on love and language. The book comprises conversations between two lovers (a Chinese woman and a Western man) and is inspired by Roland Barthes' 1977 A Lover's Discourse: Fragments (Fragments d’un discours amoureux). The work will function in part as a sequel to the first novel I wrote in English (A Concise Chinese English Dictionary for Lovers, 2007, Doubleday, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction). That novel was my first attempt to explore questions of linguistic and cultural difference and love. That novel was from the point of view of an outsider—a young Chinese student living in Britain. The new work concerns a more experienced perspective, which allows a more nuanced and feminist exploration of closeness in the midst of difference.