The literary magazine has revealed its once-a-decade list of the 20 most promising British writers under 40.

The 2013 list features six debut novelists, and includes computer game writers, an ex-professional basketball player, a metal sculptor and a writer who also runs a small independent bookshop.


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 a Time Proletarian. Her forthcoming novel is called I Am China.


In 20 Fragments Of A Ravenous Youth, the capital is Beijing - not Paris - but the provinces, those places that exist to be escaped from, are much the same and so are "all those shiny things in life" that bring the escapees flocking to the centre, seeking fame, fortune and the chance to be someone new.

The escapee in 20 Fragments is its narrator, Fenfang, her slightly delayed youth a period she dates not from her flight from the "vast, silent fields" of her home in Western China but from the day she filled in a form for work as an extra at the Beijing Film Studios.

"My youth began when I was 21," she writes as the novel begins, "at least, that's when I decided it began ... If you think 21 sounds a bit late to start, just think about the average dumb Chinese peasant, who leaps straight from childhood to middle age with nothing in between. If I was going to miss anything out, it was middle age. Be young or die. That was my plan."