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Dostoevsky and the Chickens

Novelist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo's first radio drama, set on a purpose-built island in the Pacific Ocean in a vast poultry processing plant, staffed entirely by prisoners.

A teenage couple, Zhuang and Niue, are prison-labourers in this chicken factory, having been convicted for petty theft. After nightfall, they meet in secret and read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment together. Zhuang dreams about the possibility of bringing about a new social order, while Niue has quieter ambitions to become a mother and earn a living from her talent for singing.

When the Mainland is hit by a highly virulent strain of bird flu, suspicion falls on chicken meat from the island's processing plant. The chicken factory island and its workers are put into enforced quarantine, surrounded by soldiers and left to their fate. But Zhuang is determined that the workers should be masters of their own destinies.

About the writer: Writer and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo was named one of Granta's Best British Novelists in 2013. She studied at the Beijing Film Acadamy 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 new novel, I Am China, is published this year by Chatto & Windus.

1 hour

Last on

Sat 15 Feb 2014 21:30

Credits

Role Contributor
WriterXiaolu Guo
NiueVera Chok
ZhuangChris Lew Kum Hoi
ChiefPaul Courtenay Hyu
HuSteve Toussaint
SecretaryCarolyn Pickles
WorkerPriyanga Burford
WorkerArthur Hughes
DirectorEmma Harding
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