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April 2015
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July 2015

Links for Xiaolu Guo and I Am China

Asia Society Texas Center - Interview


LA Times - Interview

I loved Alan Ginsberg’s Howl. When I was reading Ginsberg’s poems in English some years ago, I thought it was so interesting to think that what is going on in China now was going on in America 40 years ago. I thought: if I replace the word “America” in America with “China,” the poem would still work. I did a cover version myself when I had a band; it was called Sabotage Sister — three boys and me. I did a reading of the “China” version of Howl in different European clubs, and it worked. The poem is a big part of I Am China. In a way it’s a novel dedicated to Alan Ginsberg.

The Guardian

This discovery [of Jian's father's identity] resolves the plot, but is less important than Guo's picture of the dislocation that afflicts all the characters as they struggle through atomised lives, where the relative freedoms of exile are counted against cultural nostalgia and loss of certainty as once-cherished meaning is stripped away.


In an authoritarian state, is all art necessarily political? And if so, what is the artist's responsibility? How far should he or she push? How does an individual operate in a society that values collectivism above all? And is this intersection of art and politics worth the turmoil, chaos, and pain that it causes to those you love?

The Independent +

By the end, having seen the human story behind present political oppression, she resolves not to live "a trivial life".

The Independent -

Jian believes art should agitate for a freer society and argues: “Ideology is a slaughterhouse.” Mu, who’s tired of protest, wonders: “Where is the place for life?”


Books for Fall 2015 - Brilliant Minds

For those of you planning to get a head start on the reading here is a preview of our reading list for Brilliant Minds, Fall 2015:

Sophocles, Antigone; Plato, Symposium; Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel; Shakespeare, Twelfth Night; Racine, Phèdre; Austen, Persuasion; Prince, The History of Mary Prince; Rimbaud, A Season in Hell & The Drunken Boat; Waugh, Brideshead Revisited; Ishiguro, The Buried Giant.

Recommended editions forthcoming!