Xiaolu Guo at the Oxford Literary Festival

On 30 March 2022 the award-winning Chinese-British novelist and film-maker Xiaolu Guo was interviewed at the Oxford Literary Festival by Angus Phillips, Director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing.

The event took place in the Weston Library Lecture Theatre at the Bodleian Library and was attended by 50 people. The interview provided insights into Xiaolu Guo’s life and works, as well as examining some of the key themes in her books, such as love, language and identity. 

A key part of the conversation focused on her latest novel A Lover’s Discourse (2020). A Chinese woman comes to post-Brexit London to start over: isolated and lonely in a Britain increasingly hostile to foreigners, she meets a landscape architect and the two begin to build their future together. The novel plays with language and the cultural differences that the narrator encounters as she settles into her new life, and the lovers must navigate their differences and their romance. The author read an extract from the book which considers the difference between authenticity and imitation through looking at a village in Shenzhen, where there is a cottage industry reproducing famous artworks for western consumers.

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