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Where to start reading Xiaolu Guo

Here’s our guide to the essential books of Xiaolu Guo, one of the most exciting voices writing in Britain today.

Six of Xiaolu Guo's books on a white shelf in front of a green background

Penning both fiction and non-fiction, Xiaolu Guo is adept at turning her hand to writing of all kinds – and successfully too, as the accolades piled upon her show.

Born in China, Guo moved to Britain in 2002, by which time she was already an established published author. In 2013, she was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. The list, released once a decade, is an indication of the literary scene's future stars.

By that point, Guo, who is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a visiting professor at the Free University in Berlin, had already been shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for her 2004 book Village of Stone, as well as a number of other awards.

Guo’s work often explores identity and belonging, with many of the characters in her fiction migrating from China to London – like she did – and exploring new and unfamiliar places, people and languages.

To mark the publication of her new memoir, Radical, here’s our guide to Guo’s books.

Set in China, 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth is about Fenfang, who gets a job as a film extra in Beijing. Trying to move away from her provincial roots, she finds living a modern life in China’s capital is not easy. Grappling with the narrow world of cinema, an outworn Communist regime and the city's far-from-progressive attitudes to women, this is a coming-of-age story about the changing identity of women in contemporary China.

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