Behind the scenes: Dai Sijie Interview

While interviewing French author and filmmaker Dai Sijie on his favourite travel destinations, I gave him a sample of the kind of article I was hoping to write on him. That particular profile was of a certain celebrity chef who lovedĀ  Sydney Harbour. Here’s how Mr. Dai responded in Mandarin:

“Who in the right mind would say Sydney Harbour is their favourite place?! I was there once and saw a man slap a woman. A writer would NEVER like a place like this. Who is this guy again? A cook? A Japanese cook? NO WONDER.”

Obviously, this is a gem of a quote I have to keep for posterity since it would probably never make it to print. I only wish I could speak Mandarin better so the interview could have led to more of such cute, random quips.


Not his favourite place

I’ve only read one book by him – Mr Muo’s Travelling Couch – but you’d be pleased to know that like his conversation, Dai’s writing is full of delightful ironic humour in unexpected places.


  1. This is a classic!

  2. =) Dai Sijie has given me so many anecdotes of his, ‘Lin’s claim to fame’ journal just got a few chapters thicker.

    Thanks Mel!

  3. oh u lucky lady! do share your journal chapters :)

  4. Hi there! I’m an English Teacher in Argentina, and I’m reading Dai Sijie’s Balzac and The Little Chinese Seamstress. I was wondering if you have any means of contacting Dai, in order to ask him if he would be willing to answer some of my student’s questions about the book on Skype. If he only speaks French, we could have someone to translate the questions and his answers.


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