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International interest in China's contemporary visual arts has hit exuberant heights, which makes the relative international ignorance of contemporary Chinese literature more conspicuous. Contemporary Chinese writing remains woefully undertranslated in English. Expectations for a translation boom, created when émigré Chinese writer Gao Xingjian won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000, remain unfulfilled. So what is an ambitious Chinese writer who desires to reach an international audience to do? The 35-year-old Xiaolu Guo has taken matters into her own hands by writing in English. As a novelist who is equally at home as a filmmaker, and a nomad who...

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