Born in China in 1954, Dai Sijie is a filmmaker who was himself 're-educated' between 1971 and 1974, and left China in 1984 for France, where he has lived and worked ever since. His first novel, Balzacand the Little Chinese Seamstress, was an overnight sensation when it appeared in France in 2000. It became an immediate bestseller and won five prizes. It is now published in over thirty-five countries. His film of the book was chosen to open the Cannes Film Festival in 2002. His second novel, Mr Muo's Travelling Couch, became a bestseller in its first French edition.