Baruch’s Weissman School Welcomes Internationally Acclaimed Writer and Filmmaker Xiaolu Guo as the Fall 2020 Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence
September 1, 2020
The Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College welcomes Xiaolu Guo, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and filmmaker, as the Fall 2020 Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence.
Guo was born in southeastern China and studied film at Beijing Film Academy and at the National Film & Television School in the UK where she emigrated in 2002. In 2013, Guo was named one of Granta magazine’s Best of Young British Novelists, a list drawn up once a decade. Since then, her books have been translated into 28 languages. In 2017, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China won the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography.
This summer, her latest novel, A Lover’s Discourse, was released by Grove Atlantic in the U.S., and Penguin Random House (Chatto) in the UK. It is a story of desire, love, language, and the meaning of home, told through conversations between a Chinese graduate student and an Australian man who fall in love against the backdrop of Brexit London.
Guo: First Harman Writer to Grow Up in China
“We’re privileged and honored to have Xiaolu Guo as our next Harman Writer-in-Residence. She is a person of extraordinary fortitude, as her award-winning memoir Nine Continents attests, and both a writer and a filmmaker — which makes her something of a first for the Harman program. She is also the first Harman writer to have grown up in China, a country she left at age 30,” commented Esther Allen, professor and director of the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence program.
Guo’s novel Village of Stone (2004), translated from the Chinese, was shortlisted for the 2005 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It was followed by her first novel written in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (2007), which tells the story of Z, a Chinese student in London and her inner journey of self-discovery.
Other novels include 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth (2008), which tells the tale of Fenfang, a film extra’s snapshots in Beijing; UFO In Her Eyes (2009), a surrealist account of globalization; Lovers in the Age of Indifference (2010), a collection of short stories of solitary people in transit; and I Am China, a 2014 novel centered on a mysterious Chinese punk rocker.
Guo’s award-winning films include the features She, a Chinese (2009, Golden Leopard Award, Locarno Film Festival) and UFO In Her Eyes (2011), adapted from her novel of the same title, which was widely acclaimed and screened at several international film festivals. Her documentaries include, Five Men and a Caravaggio (2018), inspired by the work of Walter Benjamin, Once Upon a Time Proletarian (2009), We Went to Wonderland (2008), How Is Your Fish Today? (2006), and The Concrete Revolution (2004), awarded the Grand Prix in the 2005 International Human Rights Film Festival (France).
Upcoming Harman Events: Open to the Public
Several events associated with the Harman residency are open to the public, including a livestreamed film festival of Xiaolu Guo’s works accompanied by two Q & A sessions with her, and the signature Harman lecture.
- September 11: Livestreamed double feature of Guo’s We Went to Wonderland/Far and Near
- September 15 at 5 p.m.: Guo will be interviewed live by Patricia White, Swarthmore College film professor, about both films and take questions from the public
- September 18 at 9 a.m. and September 22 at 3 p.m.: The film Once Upon a Time Proletarian streams
- September 22 at 5 p.m.: Guo will be interviewed by Esther Allen, Baruch College professor and director of the Sidney Harman Program, about the film and take questions from the public.
Harman Reading and Conversation:
- October 20 at 5 p.m.: Guo will hold the traditional Harman reading and conversation livestreamed from her residence in London.
About the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program
Baruch College’s Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program brings distinguished writers to the campus every semester, including poets, playwrights, novelists, journalists, and essayists. Endowed by alumnus Dr. Sidney Harman (’39), the Harman Residency reflects his belief that “good writing is revelatory. It is not merely a transference of fully formed material from brain to paper. Writing is an act of magical creation; writing is discovery.”
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