Xiaolu Guo shortlisted for Rathbones Folio Prize 2018

29th March 2018|Literary Awards

Xiaolu Guo’s memoir, Once Upon a Time in the East, has been shortlisted for the 2018 Rathbones Folio Prize.

A Wild Swans for a new generation, Once Upon a Time in the East takes Xiaolu from a run-down shack to film school in a rapidly changing Beijing, navigating the everyday peculiarity of modern China: censorship, underground art, Western boyfriends. In 2002 she leaves Beijing on a scholarship to study in Britain. Now, after a decade in Europe, her tale of East to West resonates with the insight that can only come from someone who is both an outsider and at home.

Xiaolu Guo’s extraordinary memoir is a handbook of life lessons. How to be an artist when censorship kills creativity and the only job you can get is writing bad telenovela scripts. How to be a woman when female babies are regularly drowned at birth and sexual abuse is commonplace. Most poignantly of all: how to love when you’ve never been shown how.

Announcing the shortlist, the 2018 judges Kate Summerscale, Nikesh Shukla and Jim Crace said:

“We were startled and delighted that so many valuable and rewarding books could be published in a single year. We read a fantastic array of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, and all eighty titles nominated by the Academy were genuine contenders.

“The eight books we’ve finally chosen are very different from one another, and they’re all wonderful. Overall, the experience has left us optimistic about the current good health and fine spirit of books in the English-writing and English-reading world.”

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the British Library in London on 8 May 2018.

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