Ma Jian was born in Qingdao, China, in 1953. In 1987 he wrote Stick Out Your Tongue, a collection of short stories that prompted the Chinese government to ban his future work. Ma Jian left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1987 as a dissident, but he continued to travel to China and supported the pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989. After the handover of Hong Kong, he moved to Germany and then London, where he now lives with his partner and translator, Flora Drew. He is the author of Red Dust, a travel memoir, and the critically acclaimed novels The Noodle Maker and Beijing Coma.