Xiaolu Guo (1973) studied at the Beijing Film Academy and received her MA from the National Film School in London. She has published seven novels in both English and Chinese. A Concise Chinese–English Dictionary for Lovers was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her other novels include UFO in Her Eyes and 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth. She directed the award-winning films She, a Chinese and Once Upon Time Proletarian. ‘Interim Zone’ is an excerpt from I Am China, her new novel forthcoming from Chatto & Windus in the UK.