Then the Game Begins

The man who invented Mah Jong is a hero. Yeah, definitely a hero. He saves people’s lives, people like me who have nothing good to count on at night. You know I used to think that playing Mah Jong was only for grandparents, and a young woman like me would have better things to do. But now I know this game is for everyone, for all the people in China. I wonder what Chairman Mao thought of Mah Jong during the Cultural Revolution, maybe he tried to stamp it out. Very unwise I think. I feel a much stronger person since I started playing Mah Jong. And you know what’s more, it has brought about an affair.

Born in 1973 in China, Xiaolu Guo received her MA in Arts and Literature at the Beijing Film Academy and the National Film School, UK. Her most well-known book is her Orange Fiction Prize shortlisted novel A Concise Chinese English Dictionary For Lovers, which was written in English and has been translated into 26 languages. She has published seven books, both in China and in the west, including: Village of Stone (2004, shortlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award), Twenty Fragments of A Ravenous Youth (2009), UFO In Her Eyes (2010) and Lovers in the Age of Indifference(2011). She served on the jury for the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and was selected as a DAAD artist-in-residence in Berlin. She has been teaching masterclasses on literature and cinema across Europe and the US in the last several years, including at the University of Westminster, Edinburgh University, and Goldsmiths College. Working in both literature and cinema, she is also an award-winning filmmaker and has directed many features and documentaries. She received the Golden Leopard prize at the Locarno Film Festival for She, A Chinese, which was released widely in cinemas across the UK and Europe. Her other films include: UFO In Her Eyes (Toronto Film Festival 2011), Once Upon A Time Proletarian (Venice Film Festival 2009), How Is Your Fish Today (Sundance Official Selection 2007). Most of her film work was shown in retrospectives at the Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris (2010), and at Beijing's ULLENS Center For Contemporary Art (2012).